Studio of Leonardo da Vinci (1452 - 1519):
St John the Baptist
A503; oil on panel; 75 x 53.4 cm.
Prov: F.R. Leyland; W.G. Waters.
Presented by Dr Arthur Waters, 1937; WA1937.102.
The idea of an angel pointing upwards indicating the Incarnation of Christ, originates with Leonardo c. 1506-8 and appears in paintings by his studio and followers. While A503 is close in design to a version at Basle, the figure here is not an angel, but St John, identifiable by his animal skin robe. Leonardo also painted St John the Baptist c. 1509 with a soft, atmospheric chiaroscuro (Louvre, Paris). A503 may be an adaptation by a Milanese follower of both motifs into a composite image.
Information derived from the Ashmolean Museum's Complete Illustrated Catalogue of Paintings.
Link to the BBC's Your Paintings page of the Public Catalogue Foundation