St. John the Baptist

Object Details

Title:

St. John the Baptist

Artist/Maker:

Agnolo Bronzino (Italian, 1503 - 1572)

Culture:

Italian

Date:

about 1542 - 1545

Medium:

Oil on panel

Dimensions:

154 × 53 cm (60 5/8 × 20 7/8 in.)

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Saint John the Baptist's artificially posed figure is confined in a space that seems too small to contain his muscular frame. His torso twists to bring it parallel with his bent leg and arm, thus exposing a portion of his back. Although unnaturally posed, Agnolo Bronzino's serpentine figure of Saint John achieves a graceful fluidity typical of the style called Mannerism.

The unusually tall format of this work results from its original position as the left panel of the altarpiece in the private chapel of Eleonora di Toledo in the Palazzo Vecchio. Representing the patron saint of Florence, this panel was paired with one of Saint Cosmas, the name saint of Eleonora's husband, Cosimo de' Medici.

Provenance
about 1542/1545 - still in 1560

Palazzo della Signoria (Florence, Italy), commissioned from the artist by Eleonora di Toledo for the Cappella di Eleonora diToledo; from 1553 located in the Guardaroba Granducale Mediceo.

by 1948 -

Dudley Wallis (London, England)

1950 - 1973

Neuhaus (Lima, Peru), sold to Gilberto Algranti, 1973.

1973

Gilberto Algranti (Milan, Italy), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1973.

Exhibitions
Fontainebleau e la Maniera Italiana (July 26 to October 12, 1952) (Cat. 12)
  • Museo di Palazzo Reale (Napili), July 26 to October 12, 1952
Selezione 1973 (1973) (No cat. no.)
  • Palazzo Vigoni-Mainopi (Milan)
Bronzino: Artist and Poet at the Court of the Medici (September 24, 2010 to January 23, 2011) (Cat. II.4)
  • Palazzo Strozzi (Florence)
Maniera: Mannerism in Medici Florence (February 24 to June 5, 2016)
  • Städel Museum (Frankfurt am Main), February 24 to June 5, 2016
Bibliography

Prima Stanza della Guardaroba, Archivio di Stato di Firenze, 1553., G. 28 (inventory of 1553).

Guardaroba Medicea, Archivio di Stato di Firenze, 1560, filza45, fol. 59r (inventory of 1560).

Vasari, Giorgio. Le vite de' più eccellenti pittori, scultori ed architettori. Gaetano Milanesi, ed. 9 vols. (Florence: G. C. Sansoni, 1878-1885), vol. 7 (1881), p. 597.

Conti, Cosimo. La prima reggia di Cosimo I de' Medici nel Palazzo già della Signoria di Firenze (Florence: Giuseppe Pellas,1893), pp. 139-40.

Vasari, Giorgio. Le vite de' più eccelenti pittori, scultori ed architettori. 9 vols. (Florence: G. C. Sansoni, 1906), vol. 7, pp. 596-97.

Zeri, Federico. "Agnolo Bronzino: il 'San Giovanni Battista' della Cappella di Palazzo Vecchio." Paragone 27 (March 1952), pp. 57-59, fig. 25.

Bologna, Fernando, and Raffaello Causa. Fontainebleau e la maniera italiana, exh. cat. (Naples: Palazzo Reale, with Sansoni, 1952), pp. 10, 96, no. 12, fig. 12.

Emiliani, Andrea. Il Bronzino (Busto Arsizio: Bramante, 1960), pp. 73, 81, under no. 53, no. 55, ill.

Emiliani, Andrea. "Il Bronzino e la Cappella di Eleonora da Toldeo in Palazzo Vecchio." Acropoli 2 (1960-61), pp. 135-36.

Cox-Rearick, Janet. "Les Dessins de Bronzino pour la Chapelle d'Eleonora au Palazzo Vecchio." Revue de l'Art 14 (1971), p. 9.

Smyth, Craig Hugh. Bronzino as Draughtsman (New York: J. J. Augustin, 1971), p. 54.

Beck, James H. "Bronzino nell'Inventario Mediceo del 1560 nell'occasione del quattrocentesimo anniversario della morte." Antichità Viva 11, no. 3 (1972), p. 10 (inventory of 1560).

Baccheschi, Edi. L'opera completa del Bronzino (Milan: Rizzoli, 1973), pp. 93-94, no. 48.

Nicolson, Benedict. "Current and Forthcoming Exhibitions." Burlington Magazine 115, no. 843 (June 1973), p. 404, fig. 77.

Algranti, Gilberto. Selezione 1973, exh. cat. (Milan: n.p., 1973), unpaginated, ill.

Allegri, Ettore, and Alessandro Cecchi. Palazzo Vecchio e I Medici: Guida Storica (Florence: Studio per Edizioni Scelte, 1980), pp. 21, 25, 28.

McCorquodale, Charles. Bronzino (London: Jupiter Books, 1981), p. 72.

Tátrai, Vilmos. Cinquecento Paintings of Central Italy (Budapest: Corvina Kiadó, 1983), unpaginated, under no. 33.

Cox-Rearick, Janet. "A 'St. Sebastian' by Bronzino." Burlington Magazine 1008, vol. 129 (March 1987), pp. 158-59, fig. 5.

Cox-Rearick, Janet. "Bronzino's 'Crossing of the Red Sea' and 'Moses Appointing Joshua': Prolegomena to the Chapel of Eleonora di Toledo." The Art Bulletin 69, no. 1 (March 1987), pp. 45-67.

Cox-Rearick, Janet. Bronzino's Chapel of Eleonora in the Palazzo Vecchio (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993), pp. 14, 79, 147-49, 191, 265-66, 268-70, 330, fig. 10.

Edelstein, Bruce L. Review of Bronzino's Chapel of Eleonora by Janet Cox-Rearick. The Art Bulletin 76, no. 1 (March 1994), p. 172-73.

Jaffé, David. Summary Catalogue of European Paintings in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 17, ill.

Pillod, Elizabeth. "The Life of Bronzino." In The Drawings of Bronzino, exh. cat. Carmen C. Bambach, ed. (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, with Yale University Press, 2010), pp. 3, 248, pl. 25.

Costamagna, Philippe. "The Portraits of Bronzino." In The Drawings of Bronzino, exh. cat. Carmen C. Bambach, ed. (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, with Yale University Press, 2010), p. 59.

Bambach, Carmen C., ed. The Drawings of Bronzino, exh. cat. (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, with Yale University Press, 2010), p. 144n4, entry by Carmen C. Bambach; p. 184, under no. 44, entry by George R. Goldner.

Falciani, Carlo, and Antonio Natali, eds. Bronzino: Artist and Poet at the Court of the Medici, exh. cat. (Florence: Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi, with Mandragora, 2010), pp. 120-21, no. II.4, ill., entry by Antonio Geremicca; p. 122, under no. II.5, entry by Philippe Costamagna.

Natali, Antonio. "The Dukes and the Eucharist: The Chapel of Eleonora of Toledo." In Bronzino: Artist and Poet at the Court of the Medici, exh. cat. Carlo Falciani and Antonio Natali, eds. (Florence: Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi, with Mandragora, 2010), pp. 110-12, fig. 46.

Eclercy, Bastian, ed., Maniera: Pontormo, Bronzino and Medici Florence, exh. cat. (Frankfurt am Main: Städel Museum, with Prestel, 2016), pp. 234-235, no. 103, ill., entry by Fabien Jonietz.