Saint John the Baptist

Object Details

Title:

Saint John the Baptist

Artist/Maker(s):

Luca di Tommè (Italian, active 1355 - 1389)

Culture:

Italian

Place(s):

Siena, Tuscany, Italy (Place created)

Date:

late 14th century

Medium:

Tempera and gold leaf on panel

Dimensions:

Panel: 99.7 x 48.9 x 7.6 cm (39 1/4 x 19 1/4 x 3 in.)

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Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh [away the sin of the world]. These words, inscribed in Latin on the scroll held by Saint John the Baptist, announce the coming of Christ. Standing against a gold background and enclosed in a Gothic trefoil frame, Saint John wears a hair shirt that represents his ascetic life of prayer and penance. Using carefully curved brushstrokes, Luca di Tommè described the woolly texture of Saint John's shirt and the unruly curliness of his hair and beard. Patterned punch marks form the decorative halo around the saint's head. The Old Testament prophets Elijah and David, who predicted the coming of the Messiah, occupy the upper corners of the frame. This panel was once part of an altarpiece, possibly for a church in Siena.

Provenance
- 1972

Private Collection [sold, Christie's, London, March 24, 1972, lot 78, to the J. Paul Getty Museum.]

Bibliography

Jaffé, David. Summary Catalogue of European Paintings in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 77, ill.