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Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, (1571  1610)  John the Baptist (Youth with a Ram)  Oil on canvas, 	1602  129 cm × 94 cm (51 in × 37 in)  Musei Capitolini, Rome, Italy
Goback 77 / 85 Forward

Title: John the Baptist
Description:

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, (1571 1610)
John the Baptist (Youth with a Ram)
Oil on canvas, 1602
129 cm × 94 cm (51 in × 37 in)
Musei Capitolini, Rome, Italy



The story of John the Baptist is told in the Gospels. John was the cousin of Jesus, and his calling was to prepare the way for the coming of the Messiah. He lived in the wilderness of Judea between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea, "his raiment of camel's hair, and a leather girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey." He baptised Jesus in the Jordan, and was eventually killed by Herod Antipas when he called upon the king to reform his evil ways. John was frequently shown in Christian art, identifiable by his bowl, reed cross, camel's skin and lamb. The most popular scene prior to the Counter-Reformation was of John's baptism of Jesus, or else the infant Baptist together with the infant Jesus and Mary his mother, frequently supplemented by the Baptist's own mother St Elizabeth. John alone in the desert was less popular, but not unknown. For the young Caravaggio, John was invariably a boy or youth alone in the wilderness. This image was based on the statement in the Gospel of Luke that "the child grew and was strengthened in spirit, and was in the deserts until the day of his manifestation to Israel." These works allowed a religious treatment of the partly-clothed youths he liked to paint at this period - not all the models have a very saintly look.

Apart from these works showing John alone, mostly dated to his early years, Caravaggio painted three great narrative scenes of John's death - the great
ution in Malta, and two sombre Salomes with his head, one in Madrid, and one in London.

Also known as Youth with a Ram, this painting exists in two near-identical versions, both thought to be by the artist. Both versions are in Rome, one at Musei Capitolini and the other in the Galleria Doria Pamphilj.


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Goback 77 / 85 Forward
Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, (1571  1610)  The Denial of Saint Peter  Oil on canvas, c. 1610  94 cm × 125 cm (37 in × 49 in)  Metropolitan Museum of Art, New york City, United StatesMichelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, (1571  1610)  John the Baptist (Youth with a Ram)  Oil on canvas, 	1602  129 cm × 94 cm (51 in × 37 in)  Musei Capitolini, Rome, ItalyMichelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, (1571  1610)  Saint Francis in Meditation  Oil on canvas, c. 1604/06 or 1607/10  130 cm × 90 cm (51 in × 35 in)  Museo Civico, Cremona, Italy
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