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The Baptism of Christ in the River Jordan

A work made of engraving in black on ivory laid paper.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of engraving in black on ivory laid paper.

Date:

about 1510

Artist:

Lucas van Leyden
Netherlandish, c. 1494-1533

About this artwork

Lucas van Leyden’s inverted staging of Christ’s baptism differs significantly from the Martin Schongauer engraving seen nearby. While Schongauer placed the important action in front of a rocky landscape, Lucas concealed it in a forest grove, instead emphasizing the onlookers and the small child at the bottom, who gestures toward Christ. Lucas often used this pictorial device to reset expectations about the subject of his prints, lingering on the costumes and characterizations in the foreground. Here, his avoidance of haloes, heavenly hosts, and the anachronistic volume consulted by Schongauer’s John turn the baptism into a more commonplace event.

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Prints and Drawings

Artist

Lucas van Leyden

Title

The Baptism of Christ in the River Jordan

Origin

Netherlands

Date

1505–1515

Medium

Engraving in black on ivory laid paper

Dimensions

143 × 182 mm (image/sheet, trimmed within platemark)

Credit Line

Clarence Buckingham Collection

Reference Number

1938.1572

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.

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