UNKNOWN MASTER, German
(active c. 1340 in Swabia)

Christ and St John the Evangelist

c. 1340
Limewood
Staatliche Museen, Berlin

Sculptural representations of Christ and St John the Evangelist are unique to Swabia, where they proliferated after 1300, many adorning the chapels of Dominican and Cistercian convents. These works exhibit the same arrangement of the two seated figures. Of the twenty-eight that have been documented, fifteen are dated to the first half of the fourteenth century, while thirteen span the fifteenth through eighteenth centuries. The best known group is in the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Approximately half life-size, the two figures sit side by side on a bench. They wear simple robes consisting of outer mantles over longer gowns, their bare toes emerge from the folds to rest on a narrow ledge. Christ, seated on the left, directs a benevolent gaze toward the beholder, while his left arm tenderly encircles St John's shoulder. The young apostle languidly leans his head against the breast of Christ. The right hands of both figures touch.




© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.