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Christ stands in a river, the water up to his waist. John the Baptist pours a cup of water over his head, baptising him. As he does, God the Father appears in the sky, surrounded by angels, while a dove, the symbol of the Holy Ghost, descends towards Christ in golden rays.
The artist was inspired by the Florentine sculptor Lorenzo Ghiberti, who made two sculpted scenes of Christ’s baptism in bronze. The symmetry of this scene resembles the one that Ghiberti made to decorate the doors of the Florence Baptistery. The poses and gestures look like those in the scene Ghiberti made for a baptismal font in Siena – where Giovanni di Paolo worked.
Egg tempera on wood
H 31 x W 45 cm
Bought with a contribution from The Art Fund, 1944