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Domenichino, Saint John the Evangelist, late 1620s
On loan from a private collection, © Private collection 2010

Saint John, the author of the fourth gospel, is depicted at a moment of revelation. His pen is arrested and he has turned from the books to raise his eyes toward the true source of his inspiration.

The eagle, the bird thought to fly closest to heaven, was the saint's attribute. The heroic, frontal pose was based on the painter's study of ancient sculpture.

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