(b. 1518, Venezia, d. 1594, Venezia)

Birth of St John the Baptist

c. 1563
Oil on canvas, 270 x 204 cm
San Zaccaria, Venice

This canvas now occupies the place of honour in the main altar of the Chapel of Sant'Atanasio, the former nun's choir, in the Church of San Zaccaria. Certain aspects of the painting remain mysterious, although it was executed by a well-known artist for a prominent church. Some authorities view this as a youthful work, while others place it after 1560. The precise subject matter is also unclear. The picture is located in a church dedicated to Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, which could indicate that the subject is the Birth of John the Baptist. However, the presence of angels appearing in a burst of heavenly light may, alternatively, suggest that the painting represents the Birth of the Virgin.

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