LEONARDO da Vinci
(b. 1452, Vinci, d. 1519, Cloux, near Amboise)
Design for St John in the Wilderness1508-15
Red chalk on paper, 24 x 18 cm
Formerly Museo del Sacromonte, Varese
In its seated motif, the figure of St John the Baptist is reminiscent of classical sculptures. The clear gesture made with the right hand, the rhetorically slightly bowed head and the way it is turned towards the observer suggest Leonardo to have been the author of this drawing, especially as the head is more vivid than that in the painting in the Louvre. In 1974, the drawing was stolen from the museum and has disappeared, making it difficult to judge nowadays.