The Baptism of Christ (Verrocchio and Leonardo)

The Baptism of Christ (Verrocchio and Leonardo), Painting by Andrea del Verrocchio and Leonardo da Vinci.

The Baptism of Christ (Verrocchio and Leonardo) image

Painting by Andrea del Verrocchio and Leonardo da Vinci

The Baptism of Christ is a painting finished around 1475 in the studio of the Italian Renaissance painter Andrea del Verrocchio and generally ascribed to him and his pupil Leonardo da Vinci. Some art historians discern the hands of other members of Verrocchio's workshop in the painting as well.

The picture depicts the Baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist as recorded in the Biblical Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. The angel to the left is recorded as having been painted by the youthful Leonardo, a fact which has excited so much special comment and mythology, that the importance and value of the picture as a whole and within the œuvre of Verrocchio is often overlooked. Modern critics also attribute much of the landscape in the background to Leonardo as well. The painting is housed in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.

Contents

Subject matter

The picture depicts the Baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist on the banks of the Jordan River. There are two kneeling angels, one holding Jesus’s garment, and the other with its hands folded, both in front of the symbolization of salvation and life, the palm tree. While barefoot in the river, John the Baptist is clothed in robes with a halo over his head. He is holding a staff with a gold cross at the top as he pours the river water on Jesus’s head. Jesus has a halo over his head as he is depicted praying barefoot in the river. He has a small garment covering his genitals with visible pubic hair peeking through. There is an inscription on the scroll that John has by his hand which includes the first two words of a passage from John 1:29, "ECCE AGNUS DEI QUI TOLLIT PECCATA MUNDI" ("Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world"). There is also a bright-eyed raptor that swoops down over the head of John and into the trees in the background. God’s hands can be seen at the top of the painting coming from heaven as it opens up. A dove and rays of sunlight shine through which symbolize the holy spirit shining above them revealing Jesus's divine nature.

History

Andrea del Verrocchio was a sculptor, goldsmith and painter who ran a large and successful workshop in Florence in the second half of the 15th century. Verrocchio trained his apprentices by... ...read more

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