St John Altarpiece, 1455-60
by Rogier van der WEYDEN

In the second half of the 1450s, not long after the execution of the St Columba Altarpiece, Rogier painted a smaller retable, probably intended for a side altar or a private chapel, the St John Altarpiece. It may be identical with an altarpiece by Rogier dedicated to John the Baptist and said to have been given to the church of St James, Bruges, by the merchant Battista Agnelli, a native of Pisa. The center of the retable shows John the Baptist baptizing Christ in the Jordan, with the naming of John to the left. In the scene of the beheading of John to the right, Salome is receiving the decapitated head after performing a seductive dance before her father - at her mother's instigation - to persuade him to order John's execution.

The altarpiece, like the much older Miraflores Altarpiece (also in the Staatliche Museen, Berlin), consists of three panels of the same size firmly mounted together in a frame. The work is not therefore a triptych, but an altarpiece that cannot be folded.

Suggested listening (streaming mp3, 48 minutes):
Johann Sebastian Bach: Cantata, BWV 51


Preview Picture Data File Info Comment
St John Altarpiece
1455-60
Oil on oak panel, 77 x 48 cm (each panel)
Staatliche Museen, Berlin

1251*642
True Color
201 Kb



St John Altarpiece (left panel)
1455-60
Oil on oak panel, 77 x 48 cm
Staatliche Museen, Berlin

750*1206
True Color
172 Kb



St John Altarpiece (central panel)
1455-60
Oil on oak panel, 77 x 48 cm
Staatliche Museen, Berlin

750*1244
True Color
175 Kb



St John Altarpiece (right panel)
1455-60
Oil on oak panel, 77 x 48 cm
Staatliche Museen, Berlin

750*1270
True Color
157 Kb



St John Altarpiece (detail)
1455-60
Oil on oak panel
Staatliche Museen, Berlin

952*1104
True Color
194 Kb



St John Altarpiece (detail)
1455-60
Oil on oak panel
Staatliche Museen, Berlin

843*519
True Color
91 Kb




Summary of works by Rogier van der Weyden
Altarpieces
Deposition | St Luke Madonna | Annunciation | Miraflores
7 Sacraments | Crucifixion | Bladelin (Middelburg) | Beaune
Braque | St Columba | St John | Various altarpieces
Portraits
Portrait diptychs | Individual portraits
Single panels
Pietŕs | Various | Fragments, copies of last works
Graphics