St. John Dictates the Apocalypse

Late 16th century

John's inspiration comes from the angel whose hand is shown in the upper left, and he then dictates it to his assistant, the deacon Prochorus, who puts it down in writing for us. This sequence emphasizes the theme of "tradition," literally the "handing on" of revelation. This theme was being challenged in the West by Protestant thinkers at the time when this icon was created, though one cannot say whether the iconographer had that controversy in mind.

The basket of scrolls behind the writing table is comparable to the baskets pictured a thousand years before in the mosaics of Matthew and Luke writing their gospels in the basilica of San Vitale in Ravenna. Those baskets in turn derive from 2nd-century classical iconography that used them to indicate that a person portrayed was of a philosophical bent (Jensen, Face to Face, 44).

Read more about St. John the Evangelist

Source: Wikimedia Commons