Jan van Scorel 1495 – 1562

The Baptism of Christ

oil on panel (120 × 156 cm) — c. 1527-1530 Museum Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem

Jan van Scorel biography

This work is linked to Mark 1:9

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Jesus is baptised in the river Jordan by John the Baptist, who as usual is dressed in a cloth of camel's hair. To the right of the tree are a pigeon and a beam of light: the signs of the presence of the Holy Spirit who descended on Jesus. Three bystanders look up, surprised by the light.

In the background right is another scene. It shows the Baptist preaching. Jesus leaves the scene and is followed by his first two disciples.

Van Scorel had returned from Italy a few years before he made this panel. The influence of Italian masters such as Michelangelo and Raphael is clearly visible in the muscular and graceful figures.

The Baptist and the curved tree form a triangle that puts the focus on John's hand hovering over Jesus' head.

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