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St. John the Baptist Preaching

A follower of the great sixteenth-century Venetian painters Titian, Veronese, and Tintoretto, Jacopo Palma became the most esteemed artist in Venice after Tintoretto’s death in 1594. The large scale of this painting suggests it was intended for a church, confraternity, or charitable hospice. The twisting female figure at the left draws attention to the standing woman behind her, presumed to be the painting’s donor. St. John the Baptist was a popular subject, but is more typically depicted in the process of baptizing Christ in the River Jordan. In this more unusual depiction, he preaches to a large group, his right hand indicating the river in the background where the baptism will occur.

Jacopo Palma, il Giovane
Italian (Venetian), ca. 1548–1628
St. John the Baptist Preaching
ca. 1620
Oil on canvas
63 ¾ x 94 ½ in. (162.1 x 238.8 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Henry R. Hope, 64.129