Saint John in the desert

Giannino Giovannoni

Mantova Museo Urbano Diffuso

Mantova Museo Urbano Diffuso

The focal point of Giovannoni’s research was the precariousness of the human condition, that here is beautifully conveyed by the figure of John the Baptist, sitting on a rock and surrounded by a desolate landscape. The body of the man who will show Christ to humanity is traced with white and red lined, to indicate the torment of the flesh and the exhaustion of vital energy, which is however substituted by an intense spiritual energy. The moment of solitude, reflection, tiredness, makes Saint John similar to a Saint Jerome. The colour of the sky, a dark blue, seems to indicate a future in which the deeds of the Saint and of Jesus will unfold, indeed they were both destined to die in order to save humanity. In the story of John the Baptist, his passage through the desert corresponds to his leaving behind the luxury of everyday life, and is a prelude to a great mission, as if in the aridity of the desert he could experience the utmost concentration of his faith, which will later allow him to baptize the Messiah.


  • Title: Saint John in the desert
  • Creator: Giannino Giovannoni


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