Caravaggio 1573 – 1610

St John the Baptist (1602)

oil on canvas (129 × 94 cm) — 1602 Museum Galleria Capitolina, Rome

Caravaggio biography

This work is linked to Matthew 3:1

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There has been much debate on the subject of this painting. It could be Isaac, petting the ram that is to be slaughtered by Abraham. It could even be some pastoral scene. However, from the administration of Ciriaco Mattei, who had commissioned the work, it appears that he paid for a St John the Baptist. Ciriaco was the brother of Cardinal Mattei, in whose Roman palazzo Caravaggio lived between 1601 and 1603.

The Galleria Doria-Pamphili has an almost exact copy of this painting, most likely made by Caravaggio himself.

Other John the Baptists by Caravaggio: 1604 and 1609.

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