Four Evangelists - Jacob Jordaens. 133 x 118 cm
The picture belongs to the early period of the artist. In the general tradition of the religious communities of Christianity, the creators of the four canonical Gospels — the apostles John, Mark, Matthew, and Luke — were called evangelists.
Despite the rather usual, traditional plot, the performance of the picture is quite unusual, especially considering the time of the creation of the picture. It depicts all four evangelists together at once, although it is now believed that, most likely, the creators of the gospels were not the famous four and were greatly spaced in time in relation to each other.
In the picture, the evangelists are depicted reading the Bible, perhaps at the time of making amendments or additions to it. Right before our eyes, history is being made and the main book of humanity is being written. The simultaneous presence on the canvas of all four biblical characters symbolizes the unity of the spirit and the desire to continue the work of Christ together even after his death on the cross.
In the center of the canvas is a figure of the youngest apostle, beloved disciple of Jesus Christ - St. John. He is young, almost a boy, his youth is emphasized by the pure white color of the bedspread. This distinguishes him and the center of the picture, attracts attention to it.
Mature John is surrounded by young men - Mark, Matthew and Luke, who was an icon painter and later became the patron of artists. All of them have serious, clearly visible marks of their young age - gray hair, bald heads, beards and restrained dark robes.
They surround John with a dark ring, emphasizing its freshness and attractiveness. The artist unusually well managed to image the folds of fabrics - they are voluminous, embossed, very vibrant and real.
The same applies to facial images. They are very expressive and spiritual. It is safe to say that the artist wrote them from real people, they are too natural and alive, they do not have that artificiality characteristic of fictional images.
This simple, but significant and very high-quality painting made it clear that it was written by a great master who has both a coloristic gift and a masterly wielding brush.
The fact that this painting is stored in the largest museum in the world only emphasizes its belonging to the masterpieces of world art.