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Ricci, Sebastiano
The Baptism of Jesus The Baptism of Jesus
1650 1650

Rapid and loose strokes of liquid paint sit starkly against a dark background and sketch out the scene of the Baptism of Jesus. As recounted in three of the four Gospels (Matthew 3:13–17, Mark 1:9–11, Luke 3:21–23), Jesus encounters John on his mission of preaching repentance near the Jordan River, using its waters for baptism to signify cleansing from sin. John complies with Jesus’s request also to be baptized, whereupon the heavens open, the Holy Spirit descends upon his head in the form of a dove and a voice from heaven announces, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” This aspect of the account is emphasized here with the inclusion of the figure of God the Father lunging forward in a burst of light through the billowing clouds above, and the dove hovering high, above his arm, shooting rays of light onto the head of Jesus below. Depicted by artists from early Christianity onward and favoured for the decoration of baptisteries, this scene powerfully underscored the doctrine of the Trinity, although by the early 18th century this tenet was no longer a major point of religious contention and was shared by nearly all Christian denominations.

 
Ricci, Sebastiano
Belluno, Italy 1659–Venice, Italy 1734 Belluno, Italy 1659–Venice, Italy 1734
The Baptism of Jesus The Baptism of Jesus
1650 1650
Oil on canvas Oil on canvas
height / width: 34.00 x 27.00 cm; 13.39 x 10.63 in.
Gift of Alfred and Isabel Bader, 1985 Gift of Alfred and Isabel Bader, 1985
28-204

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