(b. 1503, Firenze, d. 1572, Firenze)

St John the Baptist

Oil on wood, 120 x 92 cm
Galleria Borghese, Rome

Appearing to be full-size, this painting demonstrates the skill of the Mannerist painter in fitting a brilliant body-study into a small pictorial space. Artistically, all interest is on the nude, with the nakedness concealed more by the way the figure holds his body than the way he plays with the drapery and the hide mantle. The only symbol in the picture is the Jacob's staff, in the dark. This is cleverly foreshortened, and thus not the real message of the painting.