Caravaggio - John the Baptist 1608

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Caravaggio - John the Baptist 1608

John the Baptist 1608
100x73cm oil/canvas
Collezione Bonello, Valletta, Malta
The image is only being used for informational and educational purposes

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
St John the Baptist at the Fountain, in a private collection in Malta, is difficult to gain access to and consequently few scholars have been able to study it. John Gash (see references, below) treats it as by Caravaggio, pointing out the similarity in the treatment of the flesh to the Sleeping Cupid, recognised as by the artist and dating from his Malta period. The painting has been badly damaged, especially in the landscape. The work is known in two other variants, each slightly different.
The theme of the young John drinking from a spring reflects the Gospel tradition that the Baptist drank only water during his period in the wilderness. The painting displays typically Caravaggist extreme chiaroscuro (use of light and shadow), and is also typical in taking a young John the Baptist as its subject, this time set in a dark landscape against an ominous patch of lighter sky. "The mechanics of drinking and the psychology of thirst are beautifully conveyed through the artful manipulation of limbs and the carefully constructed head." (John Gash).