Oil on canvas
Framed: 200 x 286.5 x 14 cm (78 3/4 x 112 13/16 x 5 1/2 in.); Unframed: 169 x 251.4 cm (66 9/16 x 99 in.)
Gift of the Hanna Fund 1950.400
Based on a passage from the New Testament book of Matthew, this work depicts Saint John the Baptist performing Christ's baptism in the river Jordan, during which the heavens opened and the Holy Spirit descended in the form of a dove. The powerful modeling of the bodies and luminous color characterize High Renaissance painting in Venice. Because of Tintoretto's pioneering use of rich color, his work was a crucial source for many later artists.
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