L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e ~ D o s t o ï e v s k i

L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e  ~  D o s t o ï e v s k i

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

St. John the Baptist - plural

Francesco Solimena, circa 1730s.

I'm often quite amused - and confounded - by the range of expression and gesture found in Renaissance and Baroque representations of saints, gods and goddesses, etc. This selection of St. John the Baptists exemplifies some of that unintentional humor and/or incongruity. The Regnier looks heavily medicated while the González y Serrano positively scowls; perhaps he's really tired of posing. The gym-bodied Titian holds his drapery rather seductively, but looks ready to burst into tears. The van Dyck is distracted from his zealous pursuits and lolls about, completely lost in a good book, while the Strozzi appears to have got his bottom stuck in the scenery and can't get out. The Solimena, though, is merely vivid and quite beautiful.

Titian, 1542.
Bartolomé González y Serrano, circa 1600.
 Nicolas Régnier, circa 1615-20.
Anton Raphael Mengs, circa 1760s.
Bernardo Strozzi, circa 1615-20.
Anthony van Dyck, circa 1624-25.
Caravaggio (attributed to), second half of the sixteenth century.
Guido Reni,circa 1636-7.


  1. So funny. And beautiful, of course. But I love your commentary.

  2. That "attributed to Carravaggio" with its chiaroscuro is utterly captivating, and I could easily make space for it on my cluttered walls.

  3. I cracked up over your Strozzi observation. Reni seems to have some sort of skin condition and van Dyck's model couldn't care less about being painted. And what about those poor sheep? They must be quite put out after posing for that long.