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Saint John the Evangelist
Rubens, Peter Paul
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Rubens, Peter Paul

Siegen, Westphalia (Germany), 1577 - Antwerp (Belgium), 1640

Rubens, Peter Paul See author's file

Saint John the Evangelist

1610 - 1612. Oil on panel.
Room 028

This is one of a series of twelve panels (P01646, P01647, P01648, P01649, P01650, P01651, P01652, P01653, P01654, P01655, P01656, P01657) that make up an apostolate that originally included a Savior of the World. The disciples of Christ are represented in the style the painter used around 1612-1613. These are large figures of forceful appearance and considerable plasticity, contrasting with the dark backgrounds. The use of these human types and the intensely directed light are the result of the painter´s trip to Italy, where he was influenced by the art of Michelangelo. The saints are depicted with their most representative attributes in order to facilitate their identification. Those attributes are drawn from a variety of iconographic and literary traditions, which has sometimes led to confusion about their identities. Saint Peter, with the keys to Heaven, begins the series. He is followed by Saint john, with the goblet with which he was intended to be poisoned, and Saint James, with a pilgrim´s hat and staff, in keeping with Medieval tradition. Saint Andrew and Saint Philip carry their respective martyr´s crosses, the first of which is x-shaped. Saint James the Minor, who was a fuller, holds the tool with which he was killed, and Saint Bartholomew carries the knife with which he was flayed. In that same sense, Saints Mathias, Thomas and Matthew carry diverse weapons alluding to their respective suffering. The series is completed with the representations of Saint Simon and Saint Paul, who carries the sword and Holy Scriptures, symbolizing his battle for the Faith and his work spreading the Gospel. This series was lost during the early seventeenth century, but reappeared in 1746 as part of the collection of Queen Isabel Farnesio at the La Granja Palace.


Technical data

Related artworks

Saint Peter
Oil on panel, 1610 - 1612
Rubens, Peter Paul
Saint James the Greater
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Saint Andrew
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Rubens, Peter Paul
Saint Philip
Oil on panel, 1610 - 1612
Rubens, Peter Paul
Saint James the Less
Oil on panel, 1610 - 1612
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Saint Bartholomew
Oil on panel, 1610 - 1612
Rubens, Peter Paul
Saint Mathias
Oil on panel, 1610 - 1612
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Saint Thomas
Oil on panel, 1610 - 1612
Rubens, Peter Paul
Saint Simon
Oil on panel, 1610 - 1612
Rubens, Peter Paul
Saint Matthew
Oil on panel, 1610 - 1612
Rubens, Peter Paul
Inventory number
Rubens, Peter Paul
Saint John the Evangelist
1610 - 1612
Height: 107.5 cm; Width: 83 cm
Serie Apostolado del duque de Lerma
Royal Collection (Palacio de La Granja de San Ildefonso, Segovia, 1746, nº 228; Palacio de La Granja, Piezas del despacho, 1766, nº 228; Palacio de la Granja, Piezas del tocador, 1774, nº 228; Palacio de Aranjuez, Madrid, Pieza de tocador, 1794, nº 228; Palacio de Aranjuez, Tocador de la Reyna, 1814-1818, nº 228, Museo Real de Pinturas a la muerte de Fernando VII, Madrid, Salón 1º Escuela Holandesa, 1834, nº120)

Bibliography +

Corpus rubenianum Ludwig Burchard: an illustrated catalogue, T. VIII, t. I, Arcade Press, Bruselas, 1968, pp. 34-48.

Díaz Padrón, Matías, Museo del Prado. Catálogo de pinturas. Escuela flamenca, Museo del Prado; Patrimonio Nacional de Museos, Madrid, 1975, pp. 238.

Jaffe, Michael, Rubens: catálogo completo, Rizzoli, Milán, 1989, pp. 178.

Díaz Padrón, Matías, El siglo de Rubens en el Museo del Prado: catálogo razonado, Prensa Ibérica, Barcelona, 1995, pp. 886.

Vergara, Alejandro, The Presence of Rubens in Spain. (Volumes i and II). Tesis D, A Bell & Howell Company, Ann Arbor, 1999, pp. 13-17.

Schröder, Klaus Albrecht, Peter Paul Rubens, Hatje Cantz, Viena, 2004, pp. 164-167.

Credo : masterpieces of religious art, Draiflessen Collection, Wstphalia, 2010, pp. 40-46.

Pérez Preciado, José Juan, 'Reyes Gobernadores, Nobles, Funcionarios y Artistas. La incesante llegada de obas de arte a España desde los Paises Bajos en el s.XVII', Aragón y Flandes. Un encuentro artístico (siglos XV-XVII), Universidad de Zaragoza, Zaragoza, 2015, pp. 132-142 [132].

Other inventories +

Museo Real de Pinturas a la muerte de Fernando VII, 1834. Núm. 120.
Salon 1º Escuela Holandesa Ciento y veinte. San Juan Evangelista de Ydem (Rubens) Tª 6.300

Inv. Real Museo, 1857. Núm. 1510.
Rubens. / 1510. San Juan Evangelista. / Tiene en la mano un cáliz. (TABLA.) / Alto 3 pies, 10 pulg, 6 lin; ancho 3 pies.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1873-1907. Núm. 1568.
1568.-San Juan evangenlista.-Media figura, tamaño natural. / Col. de Doña Isabel Farnesio, Pal. de San Ildef. / Alto 1,08; ancho 0,84.-T.

Inv. Fernando VII, Aranjuez, 1814-1818. Núm. 228.
Tocador de la Reyna [...] 228 / Doce quadros de tres pies escasos de largo tres pies y trece dedos de alto, los doce Apóstoles = Rubens

Inv. Isabel Farnesio, La Granja, 1746. Núm. 228.
Doce Pintura origles en Tabla, de mano de Rubens, que reptªn el Apostolado incluso Sn Pablo, y Sn Pedro, qe està vestido de blanco a lo Griego. tienen à vara, y quarta de alto; tres quartas, y nueve dedos de ancho. Marcos dorados con Targtªs a las Esquinas ... 12

Inv. Testamentaría Isabel Farnesio, La Granja, 1766. Núm. 228.
Piezas del Despacho 228 / Doce quadros que representan el Apostolado, de Rubens, de quatro pies y medio de alto, y tres y medio de ancho, marcos dorados, con targetas à las esquinas, todos bajo del mismo numero, valen diez y ocho mil rs

Inv. Testamentaría Carlos III, Aranjuez, 1794. Núm. 228.
Pieza de tocador [...] 228 / Doce quadros de tres pies escasos de largo, y tres pies y trece dedos de alto. Los doce Apostoles. Rubens ... 18.000

Inv. Carlos III, La Granja, 1774. Núm. 228.
Piezas del despacho 228 / Doce pinturas el Apostolado de Rubens = quatro pies y medio de ancho todos bajo el mismo numero en las piezas del despacho = 18.000

Inscriptions +

Fleur-de-lis, used as a collection’s mark belonging to Elisabeth Farnese. Front, lower right corner

Inscribed in white. Front, lower left corner

Exhibitions +

06.06.2020 - 25.07.2021

05.11.2010 - 23.01.2011

Location +

Room 028 (On Display)


Displayed objects +


Update date: 23-04-2022 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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