Saint John the Baptist in the Wilderness

Unknownabout 1410

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum
Los Angeles, United States

Saint John the Baptist sits in a lush landscape surrounded by animals that approach him gently. The lamb he holds in his lap is the Lamb of God, a symbol for Christ. The scene refers to the biblical story of Saint John's retreat into the desert, where he lived an ascetic life of prayer. The soft rendering of the animals' fur and the lush meadow showcases the Pseudo-Jacquemart de Hesdin's mastery of naturalistic detail.

This image prefaces the feast of Saint John the Baptist, in honor of the saint who attracted the devotion of many medieval Christians. He and Saint Andrew are the only two saints for whom individual masses appear in this manuscript.


  • Title: Saint John the Baptist in the Wilderness
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date: about 1410
  • Location Created: Bourges (probably), France
  • Physical Dimensions: Leaf: 17.9 x 13.3 cm (7 1/16 x 5 1/4 in.)
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Tempera colors, gold leaf, gold paint, and ink on parchment
  • Object Type: Folio
  • Number: Ms. 36, fol. 59v
  • Culture: French
  • Classification: Manuscripts

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