(b. 1450, Citta della Pieve, d. 1523, Perugia)

St John the Baptist

Oil on wood, 160 x 67 cm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

This painting was part of a series of eight panels painted for an altar complex in the church of Santissima Annunziata in Florence. The altarpiece had the form of a Roman triumphal arch, with large scenes flanked by Perugino's standing saints, which are notable for the subdued colouring and subtle treatment of light. The commission for the altarpiece was originally given to Filippino Lippi, and then was passed to Perugino, who finished the work in November of 1507. The altar was definitively dismantled and dispersed in 1654.

All of the painted panels survive, though those of individual standing saints have been cropped to varying degrees at the top and bottom. The Deposition (probably from the front side of the altarpiece) is in the Galleria dell'Accademia, Florence; an Assumption of the Virgin (probably from the reverse side) is in a side chapel of the SS. Annunziata, Florence; a pair of panels, St Margaret of Antioch and the Blessed Francis of Siena are in the Lindenau-Museum, Altenburg; and two more saints, cut down to half-length, Catherine of Alexandria and Filippo Benizzi are in a private collection and the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica, Rome, respectively; another pair, St John the Baptist and St Lucy are in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

There are several hypothetical reconstructions of the altarpiece which almost certainly consisted of only these eight paintings.