Winter Schedule: 9.30-18.00 | Last entry at 16.30

Winter Schedule: 9.30-18.00 | Last entry at 16.30

Head of the Baptist

Lombardy
17th century, Oil on copper

This small oil painting on copper, exemplifying the devotion and worship of Saint John the Baptist, shows the saint's head prominently in the foreground, resting on a tall tray. The skin is livid, the mouth half-open and the eyes closed. The background is dark and neutral, and emphasises the rawness of the details, in particular the severed neck that is still bleeding. The typical attributes of Saint John the Baptist, the reed cross and the parchment that reads 'Ecce Agnus Dei', can be seen under the tray. The gilded frame makes the image appear like a relic. The painting seems attributable to a mid-17th-century Lombard artist, far removed from the harshness of the great masters of the early 17th-century Counter Reformation, aligned instead with the approach of Francesco Cairo and Carlo Francesco Nuvolone.