Aug 4, 2006

St. John on the Island of Patmos

St. John on the Island of Patmos

c. 1545–55

Virgilius Solis

(German, 1514–1562)


Image: 19.8 x 37.3 cm (7 13/16 x 14 11/16 in.); Sheet: 19.8 x 37.3 cm (7 13/16 x 14 11/16 in.)

John L. Severance Fund 1954.565

Catalogue raisonné: Passavant IV.303.1; Geisberg 1319


Did you know?

In this setting intended to be the Greek island of Patmos, the saint sits among northern European trees and towns, and even a northern ship on the harbor.


Christian tradition says that after Christ’s death, John the Evangelist was exiled to the Aegean island Patmos, where he composed the Book of Revelation based on a series of prophetic visions. Here, Saint John gazes upward toward a vision of the woman of the apocalypse (traditionally interpreted as the Virgin Mary) in the top left corner. The artist’s composition implies that John’s vision was partially inspired by his isolation within nature—portrayed in a wide expanse featuring dramatic peaks and fir trees, castles, farms, shepherds, and even a merchant’s ship on a vast harbor.

See also
PR - Woodcut
Type of artwork: 

Contact us

The information about this object, including provenance, may not be currently accurate. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email [email protected].

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

All images and data available through Open Access can be downloaded for free. For images not available through Open Access, a detail image, or any image with a color bar, request a digital file from Image Services.