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 x 83.2 cm (41 1/8 x 32 3/4 in.)

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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

- 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.

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.

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

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.

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.