John the Baptist in the wilderness

Iconography:  John the Baptist in the desert

Date: XV century. The end of the 15th - the beginning of the 16th c.

Iconographic school/art center:  Russian North

Origin: From the Сhurch of the Dormition, Semigorodskaya pustyn, the Vologda gubernia.

Material: Wood, canvas, levkas, tempera

Dimensions:  height 40 cm, width 33 cm

John is shown in a three-quarter turn, inclined before the blessing hand of the Lord in the segment of heaven in the right upper corner. The right hand of John the Baptist is raised in a prophetic gesture, with his left hand he holds an unfolded scroll. The prophet is wearing himation and a hair-shirt, to his right is a high hill, with the decapitated head of St. John in the bows as a reminder of his forthcoming of his martyr’s death. Behind John the Baptist, on the hill, is a tree with a pole-axe. This detail illustrates one of John the Baptist’s prophesies – the call for penance in advance of the Final Judgment. Besides, the image of the bowl is perceived as a prototype for the Eucharistic sacrifice.

Inv. NO ВОКМ 7873 © Vologda State Museum of History, Architecture and Art

  • General view
  • John the Baptist. A fragment