St. John the Baptist (1579; Toledo, Spain) by El Greco

St. John the Baptist - El Greco - 1579; Toledo, Spain

Artwork Information

TitleSt. John the Baptist
ArtistEl Greco
Date1579; Toledo, Spain
Dimensions212 x 78 cm
Art MovementMannerism (Late Renaissance)
Current LocationToledo Cathedral, Toledo, Spain

About St. John the Baptist

The artwork titled “St. John the Baptist” was created by the artist El Greco in 1579, during his time in Toledo, Spain. This religious painting is executed in oil on canvas and is a representation from the Mannerism period, specifically the Late Renaissance. The piece measures 212 by 78 centimeters. It is part of the collection at the Toledo Cathedral in Toledo, Spain, where it remains as a testament to the artist’s spiritual and artistic vision.

The painting depicts St. John the Baptist standing in a contemplative or introspective pose, with a notable elongation of his figure, which is characteristic of El Greco’s style. He is shown against a dark, undefined background that allows the viewer to focus mainly on the figure. The saint’s body is rendered with dramatic chiaroscuro, highlighting the asceticism and spirituality associated with his character. He carries a staff that alludes to his role as a prophet and precursor to Jesus Christ. The overall tone of the work is somber and reflective, inviting the viewer to connect with the spiritual message conveyed through the intense gaze and gesture of the saint.

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