Young John the Baptist; History Scene
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Bartolomé Esteban Murillo
Spanish, about 1655
Pen and brown ink over black chalk
10 11/16 x 7 9/16 in.

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Saint John the Baptist appears as an idealized youth rather than as a young child, his more traditional representation. He sits in the wilderness, holding his reed cross with his left hand and the Paschal Lamb with his right. The subject derives from a passage in the Gospel, "John looked towards Jesus and said, 'Behold the Lamb of God.'"(John 1:36)

Bartolomé Esteban Murrillo communicated the same message here through John's direct visual engagement of the viewer's attention. Executed in Murillo's early pen style, the drawing displays his distinctive use of chiaroscuro and structured hatching.

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