St. John the Evangelist (189 x 100 mm.)
Upper Rhine, c. 1480-90
Pen and black and black-brown ink on paper over preparatory drawing executed with charcoal and chalk, washes with brush in grey and ocher; yellow tint in the hair and the borders of the garment (particularly its sleeve and hem), and the lips, cheeks, and eyelids accentuated with red. Removed from a previous support, the drawing bears residue of Gothic script, suggesting that it was once pasted into in a manuscript. Written in pencil on the mount: “Mt. des Lieferinges Altars.” This monochrome drawing may be a copy-drawing. However, the artist has skillfully applied colored accents and monochrome washes, which is rare in copy-drawings; they occur on select examples from Bavaria, Swabia, Alsace, and the region of Lake Constance. Hand-colored drawings and early prints were often inserted in manuscripts in the century after Gutenberg. This delicate drawing of St. John the Evangelist, probably from a Crucifixion, copies a lost original similar to the engraving of the Crucifixion by the anonymous copper engraver known as the Master E.S. (Lehrs 44).