The Baptism of Christ

Object Details


The Baptism of Christ


Paolo Veronese (Paolo Caliari) and workshop (Italian, 1528 - 1588)




about 1580 - 1588


Oil on canvas


104.5 × 83.2 cm (41 1/8 × 32 3/4 in.)

See more

See less

In a difficult, graceful pose, Christ leans his upper body forward, his arms extended so that one reaches towards the viewer and the other touches Saint John the Baptist's side. His head is bowed and his torso is muscular and sculpturally modeled. Standing on the shore of the Jordan River, Saint John leans back slightly as he pours water onto Christ's head. Above, divine light from the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove illuminates Christ. Below, three angels in various poses witness the act.

Paolo Veronese used rich, luminous color and vibrant light to animate the scene. In the lush landscape, trees frame the composition and lean away to either side to reveal the open area in the middle. Saturated pinks, greens, and other high-pitched colors enrich the natural world surrounding the holy figures. Behind, the sky is broken into areas of color: blue near the horizon, pink in the center, and gray-green near the top.

by 1648 - still in 1662

Muselli (Verona, Italy), to Alvarese.


Louis Alvarez
Source: Email from Maria Gilbert, January 12, 2005

- possibly 1829

George Hibbert (London, England) [possibly sold, Hibbert sale, Christie's, London, June 13, 1829, lot 39, to Woodin.]

1829 -

Woodin (London, England)

about 1829/1830 -

Charles Stirling, 1771 - 1830 (Keir, Central, Scotland), possibly by inheritance to his nephew, William Stirling-Maxwell.

by 1856 - 1878

Sir William Stirling-Maxwell, ninth Bart., Kt., 1818 - 1878 (Keir, Central, Scotland), probably by inheritance to his brother, Archibald Stirling, 1878.

1878 - 1931

Gen. Archibald Stirling of Keir, 1867 - 1931 (Keir, Central, Scotland), by inheritance to William Joseph Stirling, 1931.
Source: Seen by Waterhouse, 1930.

1931 - 1963

Lt. Col. William Joseph Stirling of Keir, 1911 - 1983 (Keir, Dunblane, Scotland) [sold, Stirling sale, Sotheby's, London, July 3, 1963, lot 48.], sold to Julius H. Weitzner and Hallsborough Gallery, 1963.
Source: Seen by Waterhouse in 1937.

1963 - 1970s

Julius H. Weitzner, 1896 - 1986 (London, England)

1963 - still in 1975

and Hallsborough Gallery (London, England, New York, New York), sold to Virginia Duffield, after 1975.

after 1975 - 1979

Virginia Duffield (Geneva, Switzerland), sold through P & D Colnaghi & Co. Ltd. (New York) to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1979.

The Grand Gallery at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (October 19, 1974 to January 5, 1975) (Cat. 33)
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), October 19, 1974 to January 5, 1975
Art Vénitien en Suisse et au Liechtenstein (September 13 to November 5, 1978) (Cat. 74)
  • Musée d'art et d'histoire de la Ville de Genève (Geneva), September 13 to November 5, 1978
The Art of Paolo Veronese: 1528 - 1588 (November 13, 1988 to February 20, 1989) (Cat. 79)
  • National Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C.), November 13, 1988 to February 20, 1989
The Age of Titian: Venetian Renaissance Art from Scottish Collections (August 5 to December 5, 2004) (Cat. 70)
  • National Gallery of Scotland (Edinburgh), August 5 to December 5, 2004
Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese: Rivals in Renaissance Venice (March 15, 2009 to January 5, 2010) (cat. 54)
  • Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, March 15 to August 16, 2009
  • Musée du Louvre (Paris), September 14, 2009 to January 5, 2010
Paolo Veronese: A Master and His Workshop in Renaissance Venice (December 7, 2012 to April 14, 2013) (Cat. 38)
  • The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art (Sarasota), December 7, 2012 to April 14, 2013

Ridolfi, Carlo. Le Maraviglie dell'Arte, 2 vols., ed. by Detlev von Hadeln. (Venice: 1648; Berlin: 1914) p. 320.

Pozzo, Bartholomeo dal. Le Vite de'pittori, degli scultori, et architetti veronesi (Verona: 1718) p. 93.

Waagen, Gustav Friedrich. Galleries and Cabinets of Art in Great Britain: Being an Account of More than Forty Collections of Paintings, Drawings, Sculptures, Mss. Visited in 1854 and 1856, and Now for the First Time Described (London: John Murray, 1857) p. 451.

Campori, Giuseppe. Raccolta di cataloghi ed inventarii inediti di quadri, statue, disegni [...] dal secolo XV al secolo XIX (Modena: Tipografia di Carlo Vincenzi, 1870; repr., Sala Bolognese: Arnaldo Forni Editore, 1975) p. 186 (catalogo dei quadri dello studio Muselli di Verona, 1662, Archivio Palatino).

Ridolfi, Carlo. Le Maraviglie dell'Arte. D. von Hadeln, ed. (Berlin: 1914) p. 320.

Graves, Algernon. Art Sales from Early in the Eighteenth Century to Early in the Twentieth Century, 3 vols. (London: Graves, 1918-1921; repr., New York: Franklin, 1970), vol. 3 (1921) pp. 301-2.

Sotheby & Co., London. Catalogue of Highly Important Old Master Paintings. July 3, 1963 p. 50, lot 48.

Morassi, Antonio. "Un 'Battesimo' inedito di Paolo Veronese." Arte Veneta 22 (1968) pp. 31-38, fig. 41.

Zampetti, Pietro. A Dictionary of Venetian Painters. Vol. 2, 16th Century (Leigh-on-Sea: F. Lewis, 1970) ill.

The Grand Gallery at the Metropolitan Museum of Art: Sixth International Exhibition Presented by C. I. N. O. A. (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1974) p. 39, no. 33, ill.

Pignatti, Terisio. Veronese (Venice: 1976) vol. 1, p. 143, no. 220, ill.; vol. 2, pl. 532-33.

Cocke, Richard. "Review of T. Pignatti, Veronese: L'Opera completa." The Burlington Magazine 119 (November 1977) pp. 786-87.

Fredericksen, Burton B. Masterpieces of Painting in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1980) unpaginated, no. 13, ill.

Badt, Kurt. Paolo Veronese (Cologne: 1981) p. 118, n. 5.

Goldner, George R. "A Baptism of Christ by Veronese in the Getty Museum." Journal of The J. Paul Getty Museum 9 (1981) pp. 111-26, ill.

Heinemann, Fritz. "Neue Beiträge zum Werk Paolo Veroneses." Pantheon 39 (July-September 1981) p. 210, 211, ill.

Rosand, David. "Review of T. Pignatti, Veronese: L'Opera Completa." The Art Bulletin 63 (March 1981) p. 164.

Cocke, Richard. Veronese's Drawings (London: 1984) pp. 198, 245, under nos. 82 and 104.

Pallucchini, Rodolfo. Veronese (Milan: 1984) p. 182, no.171.

Cole, Bruce. Italian Art 1250-1550: The Relation of Renaissance Art to Life and Society (New York: 1987) pp. 118, 120, 121, ill.

Rearick, W. R. The Art of Paolo Veronese 1528-1588 (Washington: National Gallery of Art, 1988) 123, 151-52, no. 79, ill.

Cocke, Richard. "Exhibition Review of 'Washington: Paolo Veronese'." The Burlington Magazine 131, no. 1030 (January 1989) p. 62.

Molli, Giovanna Baldissin. Pinacoteca di Brera: Scuola veneta (Milan: 1990) p. 253, under no. 145.

Pilo, Giuseppe M. "Paolo Veronese e il tema del Battesimo di Gesù Cristo." Nuovi Studi su Paolo Veronese. Massimo Gemin, ed. (Venice: 1990) pp. 400, 407-8.

Pedrocco, Filippo, and Terisio Pignatti. Veronese: Catalogo completo dei dipinti (Florence: 1991) p. 239, no. 160.

Pedrocco, Filippo, and Terisio Pignatti. Veronese. Rev. ed. (Milan: Electa, 1995) vol. 2, pp. 398-99, no. 287, ill.

Rearick, W.R. Paolo Veronese: Disegni e Dipinti, exh. cat. Alessandro Bettagno, ed. (Vicenza: Fondazione Giorgio Cini, 1988) p. 102, under no. 64.

Jaffé, David. Summary Catalogue of European Paintings in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997) p. 131, ill.

Humfrey, Peter, et al. The Age of Titian: Venetian Renaissance Art from Scottish Collections, exh. cat. (Edinburgh: National Galleries of Scotland, 2004) pp. 190-91, 436-37, no. 70.

Ilchman, Frederick, et al. Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese: Rivals in Renaissance Venice, exh. cat. (Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 2009) pp. 250-51, 297, no. 54, ill., entry by Frederick Ilchman.

Delieuvin, Vincent, et al. Titien, Tintoret, Véronèse...Rivalités à Venise, exh. cat. (Paris: Musée du Louvre, 2009) pp. 378-79, 382, no. 79, ill., entry by Arturo Galansino.

Doherty, Tiarna, and Anne T. Woollett. Looking at Paintings: A Guide to Technical Terms. Rev. ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2009) p. 2, ill.

Brilliant, Virginia. "Veronese in America: Collecting and Taste." In Paolo Veronese: A Master and His Workshop in Renaissance Venice, exh. cat. Virginia Brilliant and Frederick Ilchman, eds. (Sarasota: John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, 2012) p. 100.

Brilliant, Virginia, and Frederick Ilchman, eds. Paolo Veronese: A Master and His Workshop in Renaissance Venice, exh. cat. (Sarasota: John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, with Scala, 2012) pp. 174, 175, 178-79, 181-83, 265, no. 38, ill., catalogue text ("The Baptism of Christ") by Frederick Ilchman.

Woollett, Anne T. "Jan Brueghel d. Ä. und die Kunst der Zusammenarbeit." In Brueghel: Gemälde von Jan Brueghel D.Ä., exh. cat. Mirjam Neumeister, ed. (Munich: Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, with Hirmer, 2013) p. 62, n. 14.

Zamperini, Alessandra. Paolo Veronese (Verona: Arsenale Editrice, 2013) pp. 192, 202, 204, ill.