St. John the Baptist
Enlarge (47MB) Zoom in
This image is available for download, without charge, under the Getty's Open Content Program.

Master of the Harburger Altar
German, about 1515
Partially polychromed limewood
59 7/8 x 19 5/16 x 11 13/16 in.

Add to Getty Bookmarks

Saint John the Baptist cradles the Holy Lamb, a symbol of the sacrificial Christ. The sculpture illustrates the saint's exclamation, "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29).

Glimpsed beneath his billowing mantle is a tattered shift of camel's skin, as described in the Bible. The camel's bearded head rests between the saint's feet. Originally the sculpture was one of two figures flanking a central figure of Christ or the Virgin and Child within a winged altarpiece. It has lost most of its original paint.