Winter Schedule: 9.30-18.00 | Last entry at 16.30

Winter Schedule: 9.30-18.00 | Last entry at 16.30

Head of St. John the Baptist

Andrea Solario (1465-1524)
16th century, Oil on panel

Solario was a Lombard artist of great renown who trained in his homeland, where he was influenced by the art of Leonardo da Vinci, and in Venice, where he became acquainted with the work of Giovanni Bellini and Antonello da Messina as well as with Flemish painting. The fine works he created for Charles d'Amboise, the French governor of Milan, are well known. As early as 1503, d’Ambroise commissioned him to paint a Crucifixion, now in the Louvre, a splendid work that testifies to his great skill. In 1507, the powerful Cardinal Georges d'Amboise requested his presence in France to decorate his castle in Gaillon, and he executed a painting depicting the head of John the Baptist for him, which was the prototype for this panel. The iconography of that work was very successful: numerous copies were made in France, others were produced in Milan, from preparatory drawings, and many of them are held in museums and private collections. Solario’s originality justifies this success, especially in the intensity of the revelation of the sacrifice, the nobility of the saint's features, and the elegance of the leaden tray on which the head with flowing hair is placed.