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Saint John the Baptist

Valentin de Boulogne French

Not on view

The biblical precursor of Jesus seems to address his message—"Behold the lamb of God"—to the viewer while indicating the lamb, an emblem of Christ. The figure is almost certainly a self-portrait (you will encounter his moustached features as Samson in the last gallery) and was clearly painted from a mirror, whence the intensity of the scrutinizing gaze. The principal reason for dating this work early is the unembellished naturalism, such as the folds of the drapery, which Valentin soon learned to modify in the interest of greater stylistic coherence and sophistication.

Saint John the Baptist, Valentin de Boulogne (French, Coulommiers-en-Brie 1591–1632 Rome), Oil on canvas

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