Feb 10, 2009

Saint John the Baptist

Saint John the Baptist

c. 1475–85

circle of Dieric Bouts

(Netherlandish, 1415–1475)

Oil on wood (grisaille)

Framed: 126.1 x 88.3 x 7.6 cm (49 5/8 x 34 3/4 x 3 in.); Unframed: 102.8 x 65.5 cm (40 1/2 x 25 13/16 in.)

Gift of the Hanna Fund 1951.354

Did you know?

Paintings like this one that are designed to trick the eye are known as trompe-l'œil.


This panel once formed part of an altarpiece painted for the Church of Saint Laurentius in Cologne. It originally comprised the reverse of the arrest of Christ, now in the Alte Pinakothek in Munich. Another grisaille panel representing Saint John the Evangelist, also in Munich, formed the exterior of the resurrection. The grisaille technique was a monochromatic method utilizing various shades of gray, often in imitation of sculpture, as is the case here. The illusionistic effect suggests a sculpture not set back in a niche, but clearly separated from it to enhance the three-dimensional appearance. Dieric Bouts was born in Haarlem in Holland, but was mainly active in Leuven in the South Netherlands where he was the city painter from 1468. This painting appears to be the work of a close follower.

See also
MED - Medieval Art
Medieval Art
Type of artwork: 

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