(b. 1541, Candia, d. 1614, Toledo)

St. John the Baptist

c. 1600
Oil on canvas, 111 x 66 cm
Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, San Francisco

This is the finest of the various representations in which this figure of St John the Baptist appears. The attenuated figure, the agitated movement of the sky and the scintillating light on the landscape is characteristic of El Greco's work around 1600. This painting is distinguished from related pictures by the placement of the lamb on the rock - a reference to Christ's sacrifice. The building in the landscape background was identifies as the Escorial.

A similar representation of St John the Baptist is in another painting in the Church of the Jesuits in Toledo, depicting St John the Evangelist and St John the Baptist together.