In early studies of this artwork it was refered to as simply, St John the Evangelist. It remains in the Northern Schools section of the Louvre in Paris and sits alongside many other original Rembrandt works in a variety of different mediums.

There are elements of this composition which suggest the infuence of Frans Hals, another significant member of the Dutch Golden Age. As the angel sits to the side of the painting, acting as if an assistant can also be seen in earlier works by Hals.

The Saint is depicted sitting behind a table, deep in thought. The facial portrait is of an aged man with intelligence and an educated intrigue. His hands look particularly gaunt whilst his long beard hangs down, looking relatively uncared for. This would suggest an interest in literature and study rather than personal appearance or impressing others.

The clothes are also particularly plain, serving the purpose of allowing the artist to again keep most elements of the canvas dark and devoid of much detail, leaving the focus entirely on the key areas of the scene. In this case, that is the two facial portraits plus a small selection of supporting items.