John the Evangelist and John the Baptist are important in their own regard,
but they play very different roles in the New Testament. They do not figure at the
same historical time in the Bible and do not share an immediate relation to each
other, other than that John the Evangelist writes about John the Baptist. Therefore, it
is interesting that they have achieved such a significant shared importance in
Christian iconography. In his book, “St. John the Divine,” Jeffrey Hamburger argues
that the pairing of the two formed, “together with the sacrificial offering [typically
the lamb], a trio which was attached both eschatological and Eucharistic
significance” (66). This means that the presence of both the Johns serves a deeper
meaning in the encapsulation of the whole history of salvation in Renaissance art.
In the spirit of Hamburger’s argument about the Johns’ shared significance,
this website will examine their iconographic similarities and differences and focus
especially on contrapposto and movement, hand gestures and symbolic items, in
order to make a conclusion about why and how the Renaissance painters
emphasized the Johns to such a high degree.