The Young Saint John the Baptist

Piero di Cosimo (Piero di Lorenzo di Piero d'Antonio) Italian

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 604

Paintings and sculptures of the young Saint John the Baptist were common in Florentine homes, where citizens invoked him as the patron saint of Florence and protector of its people. In domestic settings, he was portrayed as both a saint and a Florentine boy, a deliberate ambiguity that would have made him relatable to young devotees in the household. Fittingly, Piero’s John the Baptist is both a sympathetic youth and a mystical guardian. This was one of the first works that Piero painted, and his skillful execution of naturalistic details reveals his interest in Netherlandish painting.

The Young Saint John the Baptist, Piero di Cosimo (Piero di Lorenzo di Piero d'Antonio) (Italian, Florence 1462–1522 Florence), Tempera and oil on wood

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