Art/ Collection/ Art Object

The Youthful Saint John the Baptist

Domenico Pieratti (Italian, Florence 1600–1656 Rome)
ca. 1625–30
Italian, Florence
Overall (confirmed): 28 × 17 1/2 × 13 1/4 in., 138lb. (71.1 × 44.5 × 33.7 cm, 62.5964kg)
Credit Line:
European Sculpture and Decorative Arts Fund, 2006
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 623
As their patron saint, John the Baptist was a prominent fixture in the homes of civic-minded Florentines. This large, lyric statuette by Pieratti, the city's first important Baroque sculptor, shows exacting yet expansive compositional experimentation. A masterly study in frozen motion, it evinces discerning responses to lessons learned from great masters. The virile type, an artfully unkempt boy of the people, is Michelangelesque, with a nod to the head of David. From Caravaggio comes the adjustment of limbs in angles to maximize contrasts of light and shadow. Strikingly Caravaggesque is the youth's arm hooked over his chest, holding a honeycomb (referring to the Baptist's wilderness diet). His other hand holds the remnants of his shepherd's crook and a scroll which undoubtedly announced Ecce agnus dei (behold the lamb of God) in deference to his cousin Jesus. The surface is abraded: the work stood in a garden around a hundred years ago, but mercifully briefly, not long enough to diminish its authority and charm.
Marchese Tempi , Casa de' Tempi, Florence (by 1677) ; Bargagli family , Palazzo Bargagli Petrucci, Florence (until at least 1910) ; [ Art market , Florence ] ; [ Thomas Howard-Sneyd , London (by 1982) ] ; [ sale, Sotheby's, London , December 9, 2005, no. 114; not sold ] ; [ sold by private arrangement through Sotheby's, London , early 2006; to MMA ]
Related Objects


Artist: Cristoforo Stati (Cristofano da Bracciano) (Italian, 1556–1619) Date: 1600–1601 Medium: Marble Accession: 41.100.242 On view in:Gallery 534

Hercules and the Erymanthian Boar

Artist: After a model by Giambologna (Netherlandish, Douai 1529–1608 Florence) Date: mid-17th century Medium: Bronze, with red-brown lacquer patina Accession: 1982.60.100 On view in:Gallery 537

Ferdinando de' Medici (1663–1713), Grand Prince of Tuscany

Artist: Giovanni Battista Foggini (Italian, Florence 1652–1725 Florence) Date: ca. 1680–82 Medium: Marble with base of gray marble Accession: 1993.332.2 On view in:Gallery 550


Artist: Giovanni Caccini (Italian, 1556–1613) Date: 1583–84 Medium: Marble Accession: 67.208 On view in:Gallery 534


Artist: Sculptor close to Donatello (Italian, Florence ca. 1386–1466 Florence) Date: ca. 1432 Medium: Gilt bronze Accession: 1983.356 On view in:Gallery 500