Saint John at Patmos (c.1619) by Diego Velazquez

Saint John at Patmos - Diego Velazquez - c.1619

All Artwork Images

Artwork Information

TitleSaint John at Patmos
ArtistDiego Velazquez
Art MovementBaroque
Current LocationNational Gallery, London, UK

About Saint John at Patmos

The artwork “Saint John at Patmos” is a poignant representation of the Baroque movement, painted by the eminent artist Diego Velazquez circa 1619. Employing oil on canvas, Velazquez imbued the piece with religious overtones, a common genre in his oeuvre. The painting is part of the collection at the National Gallery, London, UK. Known for its dramatic intensity and rich, textural details, the artwork reflects the aesthetic sensibilities of the early 17th century.

In the artwork, Saint John the Evangelist is depicted in an introspective state, seated on an uneven, rocky ground that suggests the rough terrain of Patmos, where he was exiled. The saint is captured in a moment of divine inspiration or contemplation, his gaze lifted heavenwards as if seeking or receiving a revelation. The robust chiaroscuro, a hallmark of Baroque art, emphasizes the folds of his garments and the play of light and shadow on his serene features.

John is shown dressed in a loose, white tunic with a flowing saffron-colored drapery around his lower body, highlighting the naturalism and attention to fabric characteristic of Velazquez’s work. His feet are bare, grounding him in the earthy reality of his surroundings while he engages with matters of the spirit. In his hands is an open book, likely the Book of Revelation, and he holds a quill, poised to transcribe his visionary experiences.

A powerful element is the inclusion of an eagle at the top right corner of the artwork, symbolizing John’s Evangelist symbol and often associated with the soaring heights to which he rises in his spiritual writings. A meticulously rendered inkhorn lies at Saint John’s side, signifying the importance of his written testimony. The overall composition, light, and shadow dynamically convey the spiritual fervor of the saint at a moment of profound enlightenment, embodying both the artistic and spiritual ambitions of the Baroque movement.

Other Artwork from Diego Velazquez

More Baroque Artwork

Scroll to Top