MASOLINO da Panicale
(b. 1383, Panicale, d. 1447, Firenze)

The Baptism of Christ

Baptistery, Castiglione Olona

In the upper, semicircular panel of the east wall of the Baptistery, the scene representing the Baptism of Christ is depicted. Although the picture is divided into three separate settings, the connecting rock formations make it clear that we are witnessing a single event, where the baptism of both Christ and the neophytes in the Jordan are combined in a single composition.

The Christ figure, which dominates the picture, stands knee-deep in the river's green waters, which snake forward out of the depth of the picture. To the right of John, who is administering baptism, are four men preparing for their own baptism by stripping off their clothes. The animated poses of the two men clad only in their undergarments show Masolino's mastery of human anatomy, doubtless acquired through life drawing.

In the barrel vault, God the Father appears in a circular opening.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.