gallery Catholic Art History 101: Saint John on Patmos

Ref.: Northern Renaissance Art by James Snyder 2nd Ed.
Hans Burgkmair. Saint John on Patmos. 1518. Panel, 60 1/4 x 49 1/8 in Alte Pinakothek, Munich. Ref.: Northern Renaissance Art by James Snyder 2nd Ed.

This triptych painting depicts Saint John Patmos the Evangelist on the island of Patmos. In the center of the triptych, bishop saints Erasmus and Martin are shown on the wings. The author of the Book of Revelation appears to be agitated when he looks up to see a vision of God the Father, while the spirit of inspiration blows and stirs the exotic foliage located in the background. Foreign vegetation is also incorporated into the painting.


Artist Information: Hans Burgkmair (1473-1531) was the son of a painter and an associate of Martin Schongauer. Burgkmair was a painter of altarpieces and portraits. He made a lot of designs into woodcuts for the book publisher Augsburg.

In 1508, Burgkmair designed woodcuts for Emperor Maximilian. He created such a visual likeness of the Emperor that it circulated around the Holy Roman Empire many times. This would be considered to be the first major experiment in color printmaking.

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