Carlo Cesare Malvasia. Felsina pittrice: vite de' pittori bolognesi. Bologna, 1678, vol. 1, p. 502 [1841 ed., Bologna, ed. Giampietro Zanotti, vol. 1, p. 359], lists among works by Annibale at the Giardino in Parma, "Un S. Gio. Battista a sedere in bellissimo paese, che accenna ad un picciolissimo Signore sopra un monte".
[Louis François] Du Bois de Saint Gelais. Description des tableaux du Palais Royal. Paris, 1727, p. 39, includes it among works by Annibale as "S. Jean qui montre le Messie"; prints the name "M. Paillot" in the margin.
[Louis François] Du Bois de Saint Gelais. Description des tableaux du Palais Royal. 2nd ed. Paris, 1737, p. 39.
J[acques]. Couché. Galerie du Palais royal, gravée d'après les tableaux des differentes ecoles qui la composem . . . 1, Paris, 1786, unpaginated, no. 15, ill. (engraving in reverse by L. M. Halbou), states that it was formerly in the Palazzo Giardino of the dukes of Parma and that the Regent acquired it at the sale of the cabinet of Sr. Paillot.
John Britton. Catalogue Raisonné of the Pictures Belonging to the Most Honorable the Marquis of Stafford in the Gallery of Cleveland House. London, 1808, p. 62, no. 54, as "St. John pointing to the Messiah," by Annibale.
William Young Ottley and Peltro William Tomkins. Engravings of the Most Noble the Marquis of Stafford's Collection of Pictures, in London, Arranged According to Schools, and in Chronological Order, with Remarks on Each Picture. London, 1818, vol. 1, pp. 54–55, no. 43; vol. 2, ill. (engraving by J. H. Wright).
W[illiam]. Buchanan. Memoirs of Painting, with a Chronological History of the Importation of Pictures by the Great Masters into England since the French Revolution. London, 1824, vol. 1, p. 81, no. 15, gives the purchase price by the Duke of Bridgewater as 300 guineas and states that it was "originally in the collection of Monsieur Paillette" [sic].
John Young. A Catalogue of the Collection of Pictures, of the Most Noble the Marquess of Stafford, at Cleveland House, London, Containing an Etching of Every Picture, and Accompanied with Historical and Biographical Notices. London, 1825, vol. 1, pp. 73–74, no. 98, ill. (etching).
Catalogue of the Pictures Belonging to Lord Francis Leveson Gower, at Bridgewater House. [London], 1830, p. 15, no. 69.
G[ustav]. F[riedrich]. Waagen. Works of Art and Artists in England. London, 1838, vol. 1, p. 318, no. 1 (under Annibale); vol. 2, p. 54.
Mrs. Jameson. Companion to the Most Celebrated Private Galleries of Art in London. London, 1844, pp. 89, 100, no. 19.
Catalogue of the Bridgewater Collection of Pictures, Belonging to the Earl of Ellesmere, at Bridgewater House, Cleveland Square, St. James's. 3rd ed. [London], 1851, p. 14, no. 84.
[Gustav Friedrich] Waagen. Treasures of Art in Great Britain. London, 1854, vol. 2, p. 35, no. 4 (under Annibale), p. 487, no. 1 (under Annibale).
Catalogue of the Bridgewater Collection of Pictures, Belonging to the Earl of Ellesmere, at Bridgewater House, Cleveland Square, St. James's. 5th ed. [London], 1856, p. 16, no. 84.
Edmond Bonnaffé. Dictionnaire des amateurs français au XVIIe siècle. Paris, 1884, p. 241, states that the Regent [i.e., Philippe II, duc d'Orléans] bought three paintings from Paillot, including this work; notes that Paillot was living in Paris, near the Capucins du Marais, in 1692.
Catalogue of the Bridgewater and Ellesmere Collections of Pictures at Bridgewater House, Cleveland Square, St. James's, London. [London?], 1897, p. 16, no. 84.
Catalogue of the Bridgewater and Ellesmere Collections of Pictures and Statuary at Bridgewater House, Cleveland Square, St. James's, London. [London], 1907, p. 17, no. 84.
Casimir Stryienski. La Galerie du Régent Philippe, duc d'Orléans. Paris, 1913, pp. 83, 169, no. 239, refers to it as reddish, uncouth, and pitiful; notes that it was included in inventories of the ducs d'Orléans in 1752 and 1785.
Hermann Voss. Die Malerei des Barock in Rom. Berlin, , p. 502, mistakenly identifies it with the picture mentioned by Bellori as in the collection of Flavio Chigi in Rome in 1672.
Catalogue of Ancient and Modern Pictures: A Portion of the Bridgewater Collection, the Property of the Right Hon. the Earl of Ellesmere. Christie's, London. October 18, 1946, p. 9, no. 65, identifies it with the Orsini/Chigi version described by Bellori and with the work mentioned by Malvasia.
Donald Posner. Annibale Carracci: A Study in the Reform of Italian Painting around 1590. New York, 1971, vol. 2, p. 59, under no. 133[A], calls it a studio variant of the painting formerly in the Chigi collection; notes that Voss [see Ref. 1925] mistakenly identifies the MMA work with the Chigi picture and himself identifies it with the picture mentioned by Malvasia [see Ref. 1678] in the Palazzo del Giardino, Parma.
Gianfranco Malafarina in L'opera completa di Annibale Carracci. Milan, 1976, p. 122, under no. 125, mentions it as a workshop variant of the Chigi painting.
Giovanni Pietro Bellori. Le vite de' pittori, scultori e architetti moderni. Turin, 1976, p. 96 n. 2, lists this picture as whereabouts unknown among works of this subject attributed to Annibale that could possibly be identified with the second version mentioned by Bellori.
Hermann Voss. "Caravaggio, Carracci, Domenichino and Their Followers 1585–1640." Baroque Painting in Rome. 1, rev. and trans. ed. San Francisco, 1997, p. 159.
Denis Mahon and D. Stephen Pepper. Ars 2 (January 1998), p. 61, ill. [see Ref. Mahon 2001], mistakenly identify it as the picture in the Ringling Museum, Sarasota [see Notes].
Anne Summerscale. Malvasia's Life of the Carracci: Commentary and Translation. University Park, Pa., 2000, p. 257 n. 387, p. 332 n. 635, states that the MMA picture "might be the work listed by Malvasia" in the Palazzo del Giardino, Parma, and that it is unknown whether the work seen by Malvasia can be identified with the second painting of this subject noted by Bellori.
Denis Mahon in Il San Giovanni Battista ritrovato: la tradizione classica in Annibale Carracci e in Caravaggio. Exh. cat., Musei Capitolini, Rome. Milan, 2001, pp. 17–18, 26 n. 1, fig. 1, attributes it to Annibale, dates it to the late 1590s, and identifies it with both the second version mentioned by Bellori and the work noted by Malvasia; identifies a recently discovered painting in a private collection as the Orsini/Chigi picture.
Old Master Paintings. Sotheby's, London. July 7, 2005, no. 33, ill. (color), upholds the attribution to Annibale, stating that "some scholars have more recently considered alternative attributions, none of which are entirely convincing, including that to his pupil Francesco Albani"; dates it to the end of the 1590s or about 1600; identifies it with the picture mentioned by Malvasia; rejects identifying it with the Orsini/Chigi version, and in connection with the second version mentioned by Bellori, states that "the fact that he does not specifically describe it as being on copper makes an identification with the present painting far from certain".
Didier Rykner. "Recent Acquisitions by the Metropolitan Museum: Annibale Carracci et Gaetano Gandolfi." The Art Tribune. June 13, 2010, p. 1, fig. 1 (color) [http://www.thearttribune.com/Recent-acquisitions-by-the,736.html].
Keith Christiansen in "Recent Acquisitions, A Selection: 2008–2010." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 68 (Fall 2010), pp. 28–29, ill. (color), dates it about 1600–1602.
Stéphane Loire. "Annibal Carrache à Paris au début du XVIIIe siècle: les tableaux du Régent." Nuova luce su Annibale Carracci. 2011, pp. 289–90, no. 13, fig. 5, reprints Dubois de Saint-Gelais' description of the picture in 1727 and notes the uncertain attribution.