Northern Renaissance painters were very creative when it came to expand the story portrayed in their paintings and altarpieces, and their skills and developing sense of perspective allowed them to not only fill their canvasses with more details, but also, as in van Cleve’s case, take part in the increasing secularization that was a consequence of the Reformation, where the growing importance of commerce and mercantilism put its mark on the world of art, as well.

When it comes to the two St. Johns, their shared significance allowed the painters to add a much deeper element to the istoria in their painting. Instead of just being depictions of particular scenes from the Bible, like the crucifixion, the two St. Johns help put these single events into a much larger context of the full history of salvation.

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