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St. John the Baptist
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St. John the Baptist

Description Conservation Provenance Credit
Description This panel of Saint John the Baptist, patron saint of Florence, is a fragment from the right side of a large, square-shaped altarpiece, which in its original configuration depicted the Madonna and Child enthroned between two saints. The figures were shown at full-length before a wall decorated with colored marble and a blue sky above. Such an arrangement of figures—typical of Renaissance altarpieces—is commonly known as a “sacra conversazione,” or “sacred conversation,” since by placing the holy figures in a unified space they appear to be in conversation with one another. Two additional fragments from the same altarpiece are known. A panel cut from the center, depicting the Madonna and Child enthroned, is now at the National Museum in La Valletta, Malta. A panel of Saint James, cut from the left side of the altarpiece, is now at the Colonna Gallery in Rome. The figures in each fragment are copied from altarpieces painted by the famous Florentine artist Sandro Botticelli in the mid-1480s—the Madonna, Child, and Saint John the Baptist are copied from his "San Barnabas altarpiece" (ca. 1486) at the Uffizi Gallery, Florence, and the Saint James from his "Bardi Altarpiece’"(1485) at the Gemäldegalerie, Berlin. The altarpiece from which the Walters fragment came was probably painted soon after these works by a team of Botticelli’s studio assistants working from their master’s designs.
Date Description Narrative
Examinationexamined for condition
11/01/1945Treatmentcleaned; coated; examined for exhibition; filled; inpainted; reconstructed; varnish removed or reduced
7/17/1968Treatmentcoated; filled; inpainted; varnish removed or reduced
Provenance Don Marcello Massarenti Collection, Rome [date and mode of acquisition unknown] [1897 catalogue: no. 96, as Botticelli]; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1902, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters with the Massarenti Collection, 1902

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1485-1489 (Renaissance)
tempera on wood panel
(Painting & Drawing)
Accession Number
Painted surface H: 24 15/16 x W: 15 1/2 x D: 1/2 in. (63.4 x 39.4 x 1.2 cm)
Location Within Museum
Not On View


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