Scenes from the Life of St John the Baptist

Francesco GranacciAbout 1505

Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool

Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool
Liverpool, United Kingdom

Several incidents from the childhood of St John the Baptist are combined here in chronological order from left to right. First his father writes down the name he will be given – Johannes – in Latin; the infant saint then takes leave of his parents and goes to lead a life of fasting and self-denial in the wilderness; he meets the Christ child and receives his blessing; finally he is shown collecting water from a spring. The beautiful landscape background, with its walled hill-town and rustic buildings, is a faithful portrayal of the countryside around Florence. Originally this panel formed part of a series, which would have told the story of the saint’s life from birth to death. It may have decorated a private chapel in Florence, a city which has St John the Baptist as its patron saint.


  • Title: Scenes from the Life of St John the Baptist
  • Creator: Francesco Granacci (circle of)
  • Creator Lifespan: 1477/1543
  • Creator Nationality: Italian
  • Creator Gender: male
  • Creator Death Place: Florence, Italy
  • Creator Birth Place: Villamagna, Italy
  • Date Created: About 1505
  • tag / style: Francesco Granacci; St John; religious; childhood; St John the Baptist; writes; name; Johannes; Latin; infant; saint; parents; fasting; self-denial; wilderness; Christ child; blessing; water; spring; landscape; walled hill-town; rustic; buildings; countryside; Florence; cross; deer; animal
  • Setting: Florence, Italy
  • Physical Dimensions: w2286 x h774 cm (Without frame)
  • Additional artwork information: This painting, together with two other panels with scenes from the life of St John was held in the collection of Samuel Woodburn until after 1850. The height of all three is similar, as is that of a fourth panel in Cleveland, once in the Gerini Collection in Florence. A fifth panel, now lost, also once in the Gerini Collection, has been associated with the four already mentioned. It is probable that some, if not all, of these panels formed part of a scheme for the decoration of an interior, and that further panels with important episodes in the life of the Baptist are lost. The size of the panels approaches those attributed to Granacci known to have been in the Borgherini room, which may indicate that they had a similar location. To learn more, please follow this link: http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/walker/collections/13c-16c/scenes.aspx
  • Type: Oil on wood panel
  • Rights: Bequeathed by P H Rathbone in 1895

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