TIEPOLO, Giovanni Battista
(b. 1696, Venezia, d. 1770, Madrid)

John the Baptist Preaching

Fresco, 350 x 300 cm
Cappella Colleoni, Bergamo

The impressive figure of John the Baptist, delivering his sermon with raised forefinger from the top of a rock in the landscape, dominates the right-hand side of the picture. His cross staff and the lamb at his feet refer to the fate of Christ. The left-hand side of the picture is almost completely taken up by men, women and children, who listen spellbound to the sermon. The young woman placed in the very centre of the picture breast-feeding her child, who thus conforms to the standardized portrayal of the Madonna and Child, can be understood as an allusion to the birth of Christ, which is the subject of John's sermon.