The Treasury - Fine Art


7863. JOHN THE BAPTIST IN THE WILDERNESS. Italian, 16th-18th century. Oil on canvas. St. John the Baptist depicted as a beautiful youth seated in the wilderness, nude save for a cloth across his lap, his finger raised to a haloed cross foretelling the ministry and crucifixion of Jesus. This painting is an old master copy of Raphael's St. John the Baptist of c. 1518 now in the Galleria dell Accademia - Venice, Italy. Dimensions 16 x 18 inches. Old master museum quality, in this commentator's opinion equal or nearly equal to the original. In need of proper conservation and reframing. Small tear on left shoulder, minor flaking at bottom edge and small area of upper right, otherwise in excellent condition with no repair or repainting. Provenance: An extensive North Eastern collection, acquired at an upscale estate sale in the 1980's.

In Christian iconography, the young John the Baptist in the wilderness is an important theme painted by many of the greatest masters such as Caravaggio and Raphael. In the Gospels John is described as a messenger being sent ahead of Jesus and a voice crying out in the wilderness. He is described as wearing clothes of camel's hair, living in the wilderness on locusts and wild honey. Mark describes John's proclamation of baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sin, and says that another will come after him who baptizes, not with water, but with the Holy Spirit. St. John nude or semi-nude in the wilderness, often as a beautiful young boy, is an important theme in Western art.

Price on request.