Gillis Mostaert was a remarkably versatile painter. In addition to supplying the figures for many of Jacob Grimmer's landscapes, Mostaert painted landscapes and villages in the manner of Pieter Bruegel I, copies after Hieronymus Bosch, hell and fire scenes, mythological themes, saints and, as here, biblical subjects. The basic compositional scheme of Saint John seated on a rocky knoll writing the Book of Revelation with the Virgin and Child in the sky at upper left may derive from a prototype by Bosch in the collection of the Gemäldegalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. The painting is also broadly similar to a composition by Tobias Verhaecht, who in 1611 was described as the guardian of Mostaert's son, in the collection of the Hermitage, St. Petersburg.
We are grateful to Dr. Thomas Fusenig for endorsing the attribution to Gillis Mostaert following firsthand inspection of the painting and for suggesting its early provenance.