Johannes Gyllenmun – en senmedeltida ikonografisk förvirring
Title: Saint John, the Golden-mouthed – a Late Mediaeval Iconographical Confusion.
The pictorial program in Thott 113, an illuminated French book of hours from c. 1400 in the Royal Library, Copenhagen, is fairly conventional. But instead of the usual evangelist portrait at the beginning of the gospel, St. John is placed on the island of Patmos, where his writing is interrupted by a devil who steals his ink. This motif became popular around the middle of the 15th century in northern France and Flanders, a fact previously noticed by scholars. In this article, however, the motif is connected to Parisian book illumination from a slightly earlier period, i.e. the late 14th or early 15th century, and to some of the illuminators working for Duke Jean de Berry (d. 1416). The motif originated through a confusion of John the evangelist with John Chrysostom. It can be connected to a Miracle play, performed annually by the goldsmiths’ guild in Paris during the 14th century. The book illuminators who used the scene included, for example, the Vergil Master, although the painter of the Thott hours in Copenhagen, the Ravenelle Master, seems to have used it even more frequently.