Francesco Ghissi, St. John the Evangelist with Actaeus and Eugenius

Circa 1370
Tempera on wood, gold ground
Metropolitan Museum of Art, 69.280.2, Gift of Mrs. W. Murray Crane

On the right, St. John the Evangelist receives the pleas of a man and woman whose son Satheus has died. In the next phase of the story, which Ghissi places in a separate panel, John resurrects Satheus and tells him to go to two young men he has been counseling and tell them how he was punished in Hell for being "blinded with fleshly love." On the left, Satheus does just that, pointing the way to heaven. The hand gesture of the young man in yellow is a common signifier of acceptance, and in fact the legend says the youths did repent and "weep with our eyes for this evil worldly covetise."

The two young men are named "Actaeus" and "Eugenius" in the legend, hence the title provided by the museum. The painting is one of three scenes in the Metropolitan from a series on the life of St. John the Evangelist. The other two are St. John the Evangelist Raises Satheus to Life and St. John the Evangelist Causes a Pagan Temple to Collapse. Four other scenes are known. All were originally on the sides of a Crucifixion image now in the Art Institute of Chicago.

Read more about images of St. John the Evangelist.

Photographed at the Metropolitan by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.