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The Baptism Of Jesus Christ

Painting, 1450, 116×168 cm

Description of the artwork «The Baptism Of Jesus Christ»

Paintings by Piero della Francesca, one of the great masters of the Early Renaissance, are easily recognizable among the paintings of other painters of the era. They characterized by soft, light-filled colors, balanced composition, incredible accuracy in perspective, and special heady atmosphere, at times bordering on ceremonial solemnity. A striking example is the painting "The Baptism Of Christ"which experts attribute to the initial period of the art of Piero della Francesca.

According to historians and art historians, the artist turned with the order, a representative of the Abbey, located in the hometown of the painter. They invited Piero to paint a picture that tells about a meaningful moment in the life of Jesus Christ — his baptism. According to the Bible, Jesus was baptized at age 30 by John the Baptist who preached the coming of the Kingdom of Heaven, and predicted the emergence of "the Strongest me." In the painting of Piero della Francesca's "Baptism of Christ", a description which we offer, captures the moment of the accomplishment of this Ordinance.

The Central character of the piece is Jesus Christ, which has spread its wings a white dove, symbolizing the Holy Spirit. Jesus stands on the shore of the river, in the background are small hills covered with lush green grass. His hands folded in a prayerful gesture, the look removed — the whole figure of Jesus expresses peace and concentration. John the Baptist performs the rite, scooping up the bowl a little water from the river. Warm colors and light shades of colors emphasize the significance of what is happening and give a moment of solemnity.

On the canvas of Piero della Francesca's "Baptism of Christ" there are other characters. Under the tree are three angels dressed in robes watching the sacrament. Their faces are animated and the poses monumental, but despite this, they are more similar to the ordinary peasant girls who came to the festival, and adorning themselves with garlands of wild flowers. On the background of the angels contrasts with the group of priests dressed in dark robes and located at a distance behind Jesus. They have something animatedly discussing: the hand of the Central figure raised up, like calling witnesses in heaven.

Between the priests and Jesus in the painting of Piero della Francesca's "Baptism of Christ" there is another person. His face is hidden by clothing, which he shoots himself, intending to enter the water. Located closer to Christ than to the group of priests, this character is similar to his white skin and clothes. Probably, the artist has depicted it as a symbol of the continuity of old Testament and new Testament baptism. There is also the view that this figure appeared on the canvas to balance the composition as a whole.

In 1807, the Abbey was abolished in Sansepolcro. The painting of Piero della Francesca's "Baptism of Christ", which occupied the Central part of the altar was placed in the Cathedral there. In 1861 the painting was acquired by the London national gallery, where it remains to this day.
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About the artwork

Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Religious scene

Style of art: Renaissance

Technique: Tempera

Materials: Wood

Date of creation: 1450

Size: 116×168 cm

Artwork in selections: 8 selections

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