Gospel Evangelist Portraits: Exemplars of an Enduring Christian Motif

James W. Ellis

Abstract


The Bible’s Gospel books offer accounts of the life of Jesus Christ and consequently they have been considered among the most important texts from antiquity onward. This essay uses iconographic methodology and historical contextualization to analyze a selective group of portraits and depictions of the Bible’s four Gospel Evangelists: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Art historical literature has addressed Evangelist portraits, but has tended to focus on formal characteristics. This essay presents these visual relics in new contexts. The chosen Evangelist portraits come from a variety of sources: thousand-year-old Byzantine lectionaries, medieval illuminated manuscripts produced in the scriptoria of the Abbeys of Cluney and Helmarshausen, and Italian and French missals and books of hours. The essay also examines Northern Renaissance and Symbolist print cycles portraying the martyrdom of the Evangelist John and visions he described in his Apocalypse, or book of Revelation. This brief examination of select exemplars demonstrates the enduring significance of Evangelist portraits in Christian iconography and western art history, and suggests the variety of messages Evangelist portraits can convey. This essay’s findings and conclusions may lead to further, related research concerning the ways theologians and artists have used biblical portraits to comment both on religious and secular issues.


Keywords


Author Portrait, Gospel Evangelist, Illuminated Manuscript, Martyrdom, Apocalypse

Full Text:

PDF

References


Bacci, M. (1998). Ilpennellodell’evangelista. Storiadelleimmaginisacreattribuite a san Luca. Pisa: Gisem.

Byzantine Catholic Church in America. (2013). Lectionary of the Byzantine Church. Retrieved from http://www.byzcath.org/index.php/resources/faith-worship/lectionary-mainmenu-114.

Codex Canonum Ecclesia Africana. (1881). In B. F. Westcott (Eds., Trans.). A General Survey of the History of the Canon of the New Testament (pp. 541-542). Edinburgh.

Catholic Church. (1965). Chapter V: The New Testament. In The Second Vatican Council's Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation’s Dei verbum. Retrieved from http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_const_19651118_dei-verbum_en.html.

Charles du Fresnesieur du Cange. (1678). GlossariumadscriptoresmediaeetinfimaeLatinitatis. Paris: Louis Billaine.

De Hamel, C. (1997). A History of Illuminated Manuscripts. London: Phaidon.

Durham University Palace Green Library. (2014). Face-to-Face Encounters with Ancient Authors: Portraits in Libraries. Information retrieved from

https://www.dur.ac.uk/library/asc/events/?eventno=22594.

Evans, H. & Wixom, W. (1997). The Glory of Byzantium: Art and Culture of the Middle Byzantine Era, A.D. 843–1261. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Facos, M. (2009). Symbolist Art in Context. Oakland: University of California Press.

Freise, E. (1981). Roger von Helmarshausen in seiner monastischenUmwelt. FrühmittelalterlicheStudien, 15, 180-193.

Ferguson, G. (1961). Signs and Symbols in Christian Art. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Hall, J. (1983). A History of Ideas and Images in Italian Art. London: John Murray, London.

Hannah, D. (2008). The Four-Gospel ‘Canon’ in the ‘EpistulaApostolorum.’ The Journal of Theological Studies, 59(2), 598-633.

Irenaeus. (1885). Against Heresies, 3(11). In A. Roberts, W. Rambaut& A. C. Coxe (Eds., Trans.), Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 1. Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co. Retrieved from http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0103311.htm.

Justin Martyr. (1885). The First Apology. In A. Roberts, W. Rambaut& A. C. Coxe (Eds., Trans.), Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 1. Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co. Retrieved from http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0126.htm.

Hendrix, L. &Vignau-Wilberg, T. (1997). An Abecedarium: Illuminated Alphabets from the Court of Emperor Rudolf II. Los Angeles: Getty Publications.

Jacobus de Voragine. (1483). The Golden Legend (W. Caxton, Trans.). Westminster: William Caxton.

Kelly, B. (2016). How did the Apostles Die? Catholicism. Retrieved from https://catholicism.org/how-did-the-Apostles-die.html.

Kerr, M. (2018). The enigmatic visions of Odilon Redon. Apollo. Retrieved from https://www.apollo-magazine.com/the-enigmatic-visions-of-odilon-redon/.

Klein, H. (2007). Sacred Gifts and Worldly Treasures: Medieval Masterworks from the Cleveland Museum of Art. Cleveland: Cleveland Museum of Art.

Korpiola, M. &Lahtinen, A. (2015). Cultures of Death and Dying in Medieval and Early Modern Europe: An Introduction. In Cultures of Death and Dying in Medieval and Early Modern Europe (pp. 1-32, at 4). Helsinki: University of Helsinki.

Lienhard, J. (1996). Homily 1: Luke 1.1–4. In Homilies on Luke (pp. 5-9). Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press.

Litwa, M. (2019). How the Gospels Became History: Jesus and Mediterranean Myths. New Haven: Yale University Press.

McKendrick, S. & Doyle, K. (2016). The Art of the Bible: Illuminated Manuscripts from the Medieval World. London: Thames & Hudson.

Merback, M. (1998). Torture and Teaching: The Reception of Lucas Cranach the Elder's Martyrdom of the Twelve Apostles in the Protestant Era. The Art Journal, 57(1), pp. 14-23, at 14-15.

Millet, G. (1916). Recherchessurl’iconographie de l’evangile aux XIVe, XVe, etXVIesieclesd’apres les monuments de Mistra de la Macedoine, et de Mont Athos. Paris: Fontemoinget Cie.

Molanus, J. (1963). De Historia SS. ImaginumetPicturarum, 1594, 4.24. In A. Caiger-Smith (Trans.), English Medieval Wall Paintings (p. 35). Oxford: Clarendon.

Morrison, E. (2007). Beasts Factual and Fantastic. Los Angeles: Getty Publications.

Neff, A. (1998). The Pain of Compassio: Mary's Labor at the Foot of the Cross. The Art Bulletin, 80(2), pp. 255–273.

Parkinson, H. (1911). Patron Saints. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved from http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11562a.htm.

Shorr, D. (1940). The Mourning Virgin and Saint John. The Art Bulletin, 22(2), pp. 61-69, at 61.

Stein, W. (2000). The Book of Hours: A Medieval Bestseller. Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art. Retrieved from

http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/hour/hd_hour.htm.

Stones, A. (2014). Scriptorium: The Term and its History. Perspective, 1, pp. 113-120.

Stracke, R. (2019). The Crucifixion in Art. Christian Iconography. Retrieved from https://www.christianiconography.info/crucifixion.html#molanusCall.

Stokes, J. (Ed.). (1992). Fin de Siècle/Fin du Globe: Fears and Fantasies of the Late Nineteenth Century. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

The British Library. (2019). Sherborne Missal (c. 1399-1407). Retrieved from https://www.bl.uk/collection-items/sherborne-Missal.

The Cleveland Museum of Art. (1969). Handbook of the Cleveland Museum of Art. Cleveland: The Cleveland Museum of Art.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York). (2019). The Master of François de Rohan’s ‘Hours of Francis I.’ Retrieved from https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/2011.353/.

The Minneapolis Institute of Art. (2019). The Martyrdom of Saint John, 1498. Retrieved from https://collections.artsmia.org/art/49919/the-martyrdom-of-saint-john-albrecht-duerer.

The Morgan Library. (2019). Missal of the Sistine Chapel (c. 1523). Retrieved from https://www.themorgan.org/manuscript/238229.

The National Gallery, London. (2019). The Sultan Mehmet II: Gentile Bellini. Retrieved from https://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/gentile-bellini-the-sultan-mehmet-ii.

The National Gallery of Art. (2019). The Apocalypse of Saint John, 1498. Retrieved from https://www.nga.gov/collection/art-object-page.141215.htm.l.

The Prophecies and Revelations of Saint Bridget (Birgitta) of Sweden, 1.10;4.70. (2019). Retrieved from athttp://www.saintsbooks.net/books/St.%20Bridget%20%28Birgitta%29%20of%20Sweden%20-%20Prophecies%20and%20Revelations.html.

Thurston, H. (1911). Missal. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved from http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10354c.htm .

Wolf, G. (2005). Icons and Sites: Cult Images of the Virgin in Mediaeval Rome. In M. Vassilaki. (Ed.). Images of the Mother of God: Perceptions of the Theotokos in Byzantium (pp. 23-49). Aldershot: Ashgate.

Wolf, N. (2017). Albrecht Dürer. New York: Prestel.

Zahra, O. (2016). Odilon Redon, Une femme revêtue du soleil (A Woman Clothed in Sunshine), 1899. Retrieved from https://www.kemperartmuseum.wustl.edu/node/11220.




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18533/journal.v8i9.1714

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.




.............................................................................................................................

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

.............................................................................................................................

If you find difficulties in submitting manuscript please forward your doc file to support@theartsjournal.org. Our support team will assist you in submission process and other technical matters.

In order to get notifications on inbox please add theartsjournal.org in your email safe list.

Journal of Arts and Humanities (Print) ISSN:2167-9045

Journal of Arts and Humanities (Online) ISSN: 2167-9053

[Journal of Arts and Humanities previously published by MIR Center for Socio-Economic Research, MD, USA. From February 2018 this journal is published by the LAR Center Press, OR, USA]