About this artwork
This painting depicts a young Saint John the Baptist living as a hermit in the wilderness. His cross of reeds, pointing gesture, and the nearby lamb refer to his role as a prophet foretelling the coming of Christ, the so-called “lamb of God,” in the New Testament.
Previously attributed to an unknown Sevillian artist, this painting has recently been recognized as the work of a young Diego Velázquez. The treatment of the saint is more idealized than figures in Velázquez’s earliest work, suggesting that it may have been made after his brief visit to Madrid in 1622, where Italian paintings in the royal collection exposed him to new ways of depicting the human figure.
- Diego Velázquez
- Saint John the Baptist in the Wilderness
- Oil on canvas
- 175.3 × 152.5 cm (69 × 60 in.)
- Gift of Barbara Deering Danielson