The Baptism of Christ, c. 1335

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The Baptism of Christ, c. 1335

Dimensions :
painted surface: 46.3 x 49 cm (18 1/4 x 19 5/16 in.)
overall (original panel): 48.8 x 41.2 cm (19 3/16 x 16 1/4 in.)
overall (including added strips): 49.6 x 42 cm (19 1/2 x 16 9/16 in.)
framed: 56 x 48.6 x 4.6 cm (22 1/16 x 19 1/8 x 1 13/16 in.)

Artist: Samuel H. Kress Collection

Overview :This panel, along with The Birth, Naming, and Circumcision of Saint John the Baptist, and Madonna and Child with Five Angels were once part of the same altarpiece devoted to Saint John the Baptist (see Reconstruction). The altarpiece’s original location is not known, though it was probably featured in a church dedicated to the saint in what is today the northern Italian region of Emilia-Romagna, close to Giovanni Baronzio’s home in Rimini. No documents pertaining to the altarpiece have ever been found, but it must have been dismantled by the mid-19th century, when pieces of it began to appear on the art market. The dispersed parts have been linked to each other through various clues: similar dimensions, related subject matter, the artist’s style, and details of technique and execution. One of those is the brocade pattern incised into the gold background, which appears in all the panels. Another clue is the small punch used to impress a pattern in the gold of the halos.

In this painting, John baptizes Christ in the Jordan River as two angels look on. Submerged up to his hips in the water, Christ inclines his head towards the Baptist, who reaches out to him from the rocky shore of the river. In this case, John places his hand on Jesus’s head rather than anointing him with water. As the Gospel (Matthew 3:13-17) reports: “when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him. He saw the spirit of God descending, and a voice said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.'”

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Rp 4.350.000Rp 19.600.000

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