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 Rosa, Salvator (Italian painter and engraver, 1615-1673) , Landscape with Saint John the Baptist Pointing out Christ

Core Record

Title Landscape with Saint John the Baptist Pointing out Christ
Alternative Title The Baptist Pointing Out the Lamb of God; The Baptist in the Wilderness
Original Translation Predicazione di San Giovanni Battista nel deserto
Collection Culture and Sport Glasgow (Museums): Kelvingrove Museum
Artist Rosa, Salvator (Italian painter and engraver, 1615-1673)
Date Earliest probably 1650
Date Latest about 1655
Signed yes
Description The day after St John had baptised Christ in the Jordan he pointed Him out to two of his disciples. The two men, Andrew and Peter (Rosa depicts a third one) then went and followed Jesus (John I. 35-37). Even more than its pendant, The Baptism in Jordan, this picture with its violently asymmetric composition containing features like the impassable rocky mountains and the almost dead tree, represents the wild, rough, picturesque type of seventeenth-century landscape painting for which Salvator Rosa was admired by Romantics.
Current Accession Number 2969
Inscription front lr 'SR' (monogram)
Subject landscape; religion (St John the Baptist)
Measurements 173.4 x 260.7 cm cm (estimate)
Material oil on canvas
Acquisition Details Given by the family of John Young in his memory 1952.
Provenance Marchese Guadagni, for whom it was painted; Marchese Donato Maria Gaudagni by the end of the seventeenth century; purchased in Florence, 1877, from the Marchese Guadagni, or, more probably, from the family Dufour-Berte, who had inherited it with the Palazzo Guadagni, by Mr Spence, of Fiesole, for Dr James Young, of Kelly, Renfrewshire (purchase recorded in a letter from Revd W. B. Robinson to Dr Young, dated 24-25 May 1877; price for the pair of paintings 65,000 lire; both pictures described in an inventory of Kelly drawn up in 1883); by descent to his son John Young.
Principal Exhibitions Primitives to Picasso, Royal Academy, 962, cat. no. 66; Salvator Rosa, Hayward Gallery, London, 1973, cat. no. 31; Paintings from Glasgow Art Gallery: A Loan Exhibition of the National Art-Collections Fund, Wildenstein, London, 1980, cat. no. 25.
Publications Baldinucci, F., Notizie de' professori del disegno, Florence, 1845-47, vol. 5, p. 457; Ruskin, J., Works: Library edition, vol. 4, Modern Painters: volume 2, pp. 243, 265; Gilbert, J., The Athenaeum, no. 3151, 17 March 1888; Ozzola, L., Vita e opere di Salvator Rosa pittore, poeta, incisore con poesie inedite, Strasburg, 1908 [Zur Kunstgeschichte des Auslandes, 60], p. 99; Macaulay, W. J., 'Some Additions to the Glasgow Art Collection', Scottish Art Review, vol. 4, no. 3, 1953, pp. 14-16 (repr.); Nicholson, B., 'The Winter Exhibition at the Royal Academy: II', Burlington Magazine, March 1962, p. 108 (ill.), 110; Salerno, L., Salvatore Rosa, Milan, 1963, pp. 49, 111, tav. XVI (repr.); Buchanan, G., 'Salvator Rosa at Glasgow', Scottish Art Review, vol. 11, no. 2, 1967, pp. 7-11, 29-30; Catalogue of Italian Paintings: Illustrations, Glasgow Art Gallery and Museums, 1970, p. 88 (ill.); Salvator Rosa, Arts Council, London, 1973, cat. no. 31, pp. 31-32, repr. pl. 24; Salerno, L., L'opera completa di Salvatore Rosa, Milan, 1975, no. 120, after 1650, about 1655; Glasgow Art Gallery and Museum: The Building and the Collections: with an Introduction by Alasdair A. Auld, London and Glasgow, 1987, pp. 107-8, ill. 15; Scott, J., Salvator Rosa: His Life and Times, New Haven and London, 1995, pp. 126-28, as late 1650s, pp. 203-5, 230, 247 n. 28, 252 n. 6; Ruskin, J. and P. Tucker (ed.), Résumé of Italian Art and Architecture (1845), Pisa, 2003, pp. 62-64, 91.

'SR', in monogram, interlaced; the same monogram was on back of the original canvas (fragment conserved in the picture file in the museum).

The pendant to The Baptism in Jordan in the same collection, inv. no. 2987.

Baldinucci, who died in 1696, recorded two landscapes, the Predicazione di San Giovambatista nel deserto and the Battesimo nel Giordano, painted for the marchese Guadagni of Florence, measuring 'circa di braccio quattro e mezzo', in which the painter appears to have surpassed himself in the characteristics of colouring, particularly in the natural treatment of the plains and trees, an also in the charm of the figures he introduced; later these pictures belonged to Marchese Donato Maria, of the Guadagni family; for Salerno (pp. 49 and 111) the two paintings, which belong to the best of Rosa's picturesque landscapes and cannot belong to the Tuscan period of his life (1640-48), have to be dated in the 1650s.

A drawing related to the subject is in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

Rights Owner Culture and Sport Glasgow (Museums)
Author Dr Heiner Krellig



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