Christ kneeling on rock in water at bottom left, arms folded across his chest, head looking down toward PR; John the Baptist at bottom right, leaning again same rock, holding shell above Christ's head in his PR hand and a thin cross-shaped staff in his PL hand; two angels and three cherubs (without wings) in sky at upper corners, with dove in light between clouds at top center; figures at left edge look on; two bathers in background at right

The Baptism of Christ, 17th century

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Lyonais painter Jacques Stella enjoyed one of the most spectacular artistic careers of the 17th century. For extended periods he served Cosimo II de Medici in Florence, Pope Urban VIII in Rome, and Louis XIII and Cardinal Richelieu in Paris. He became one of the leading exponents of classicism in France. The present drawing of the baptism of Christ appears to be an early study for a major altarpiece completed in 1645 (Saint-Louis-en-l’Île, Paris). The Louvre owns a closely related drawing of the composition in a more advanced stage. Many elements of our drawing were carried over to the finished painting, but ultimately the artist chose to present Christ as standing rather than kneeling.

Details
Title
The Baptism of Christ
Artist Life
1596 - 1657
Role
Artist
Accession Number
2012.116.1
Provenance
(Rodman Gallery, New York, sold to Hillstrom, 1948, for $13); Rev. Richard Lewis Hillstrom, Edina, Minn. (until 2012; given to MIA
Curator Approved

This record is from historic documentation and may not have been reviewed by a curator, so may be inaccurate or incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@artsmia.org.

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Christ kneeling on rock in water at bottom left, arms folded across his chest, head looking down toward PR; John the Baptist at bottom right, leaning again same rock, holding shell above Christ's head in his PR hand and a thin cross-shaped staff in his PL hand; two angels and three cherubs (without wings) in sky at upper corners, with dove in light between clouds at top center; figures at left edge look on; two bathers in background at right