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Saint John the Baptist, c. 1329

Pietro Lorenzetti

Italian, active c. 1306-1348?
Tempera and gold leaf on panel (one of a pair)
49-3/4 x 18-3/8 in. (126.4 x 46.7 cm)
The Norton Simon Foundation
© The Norton Simon Foundation

On view

This panel and that of the Prophet Elisha are fragments of a much larger altarpiece that belonged to the Carmelite church of Santa Maria del Monte Carmelo. The majority of the other panels in the original composition are now in the Pinacoteca of Siena. The Carmelite altarpiece marks a new phase in Pietro Lorenzetti’s style, with its illusion of three-dimensional forms. St. John the Baptist and Elisha each stand solidly within the clearly implied space of an architectural niche. The artist’s well-conceived palette is evident in the striking use of red for the Baptist’s cloak and the myriad shades of white in Elisha’s cope. Full length, calm and dignified, these figures form compelling and immediate images, even by themselves.

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