Leonardo da Vinci - St. John the Baptis 1515

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Leonardo da Vinci - St. John the Baptis 1515

St. John the Baptis 1515
69x57cm oil on walnut wood
Louvre, Paris, France
The image is only being used for informational and educational purposes

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
St. John the Baptist is a High Renaissance oil painting on walnut wood by Leonardo da Vinci. Probably completed from 1513 to 1516, it is believed to be his final painting. The original size of the painting was 69 x 57 cm. It is now exhibited at the Musée du Louvre in Paris, France.
The piece depicts St. John the Baptist in isolation. Through use of chiaroscuro, the figure appears to emerge from the shadowy background. St. John is dressed in pelts, has long curly hair, and is smiling in an enigmatic manner reminiscent of Leonardo's famous Mona Lisa. He holds a reed cross in his left hand while his right hand points up toward heaven like St Anne in Leonardo's Burlington House Cartoon. According to Zöllner, Leonardo's use of sfumato "conveys the religious content of the picture," and that "the gentle shadows imbue the subject's skin tones with a very soft, delicate appearance, almost androgynous in its effect, which has led to this portrayal being interpreted as an expression of Leonardo's homoerotic leanings."
Kenneth Clark claimed that for Leonardo, St. John represented "the eternal question mark, the enigma of creation", and noted the sense of "uneasiness" that the painting imbues. Barolsky adds that: "Describing Saint John emerging from darkness in almost shockingly immediate relation to the beholder, Leonardo magnifies the very ambiguity between spirit and flesh. The grace of Leonardo's figure, which has a disturbingly erotic charge, nonetheless conveys a spiritual meaning to which Saint John refers when he speaks of the fullness of grace from God."