Saint John the Evangelist on the Island of Patmos

Saint John the Evangelist is shown writing the Book of Revelation, the final book of the New Testament, with his symbol, an eagle, at his side.

Saint John looks up at his vision of the Woman of the Apocalypse (Revelation 12), which was the source for much of the imagery associated with the Immaculate Conception. This provides the thematic link between this work and its companion piece, 'The Immaculate Conception'.

As in all Velázquez's early work, the central figures in both works are painted from models. The Saint John here is less idealised than the Virgin depicted in 'The Immaculate Conception'.

Key facts

Artist dates
1599 - 1660
Full title
Saint John the Evangelist on the Island of Patmos
Date made
Medium and support
Oil on canvas
135.5 x 102.2 cm
Acquisition credit
Bought with a special grant and contributions from The Pilgrim Trust and the Art Fund, 1956
Inventory number
Location in Gallery

Other paintings in the group: Two Paintings for the Shod Carmelites, Seville