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ID number:  BIRBI-56.2
Institution:  The Barber Institute of Fine Arts
Artist / Maker:  Dürer, Albrecht (1471-1528)
Title / Object name:  St John devouring the Book
Object type:  Print
Place made:  Nuremberg
Culture:  German
Date made:  1498
Materials:  Woodcut
Measurements:  Paper: 388 x 282 mm; mount: 556 x 405 mm
Provenance:  Purchased from Colnaghi's, January 1956, for £18

This rather grotesque and ludicrous scene showing St John the Apostle trying to swallow a book given to him by an angel is another ecstatic vision experienced by St John in the Apocalypse series. St John’s apocalyptic Book of Revelation was taken by many in Dürer’s day to foretell that the world would end in 1500. Pictorial representations of these types of visions have always challenged artists but here Dürer has successfully transferred this complex narrative into an intelligible image.

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