The J. Paul Getty Museum

Christ the Saviour above Saints John the Baptist, Jerome, Catherine and Thomas

Object Details


Christ the Saviour above Saints John the Baptist, Jerome, Catherine and Thomas


Giuseppe Porta (Giuseppe Salviati) (Italian, about 1520 - about 1575)




about 1550–1559


Pen and brown ink and brown wash over traces of black chalk, heightened with white body color, on blue paper

Object Number:



20.8 × 10.8 cm (8 3/16 × 4 1/4 in.)

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Object Description

In this very finished preparatory study, Christ floats above an unusual cast of saints, probably chosen by the donor because their names corresponded to those of his family. Saint John the Baptist carries his signature staff with a cross at the far left. To his right, the penitent Saint Jerome beats his chest with a stone. Her attribute, the spiked wheel that miraculously splintered apart, accompanies Saint Catherine, and Saint Thomas kneels, hands open in astonishment.

For his refined composition, Giuseppe Salviati employed elongated figures in exaggerated poses typical of the Mannerist style. Most striking is the study's lushness, which Salviati achieved through a fluid application of ink, wash, and bodycolor combined across the blue paper. Contrasting the white bodycolor against both the colored paper and deep darks of his washes and ink created a dramatic chiaroscuro. His white washes also created decorative patterns on the saints' draperies and skin.

Salviati made the drawing as a study for an altarpiece.

A North Italian Itinerary: Renaissance Drawings from Leonardo to Titian (December 6, 2005 to February 26, 2006)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), December 6, 2005 to February 26, 2006