National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of The Baptism of Christ Nicolas Poussin (artist)
French, 1594 - 1665
The Baptism of Christ, 1641/1642
oil on canvas
overall: 95.5 x 121 cm (37 5/8 x 47 5/8 in.) framed: 123.8 x 149.9 x 14 cm (48 3/4 x 59 x 5 1/2 in.)
Samuel H. Kress Collection
1946.7.14
Not on View
From the Tour: Seventeenth-Century French Painting
Object 7 of 8

This canvas, from a series of the Seven Sacraments, was commissioned by Cassiano dal Pozzo, an influential Roman patron. Although the six other pictures were painted in Rome, the Baptism was completed in Paris after Poussin had been called to the French court. Now dispersed, the set formed the first instance in Christian art in which the sacraments were depicted in separate paintings. The exact center of the austere design is occupied by a bearded man who points upward, indicating the divine voice, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." The tallest tree in the landscape stands behind John the Baptist, accenting him, while Jesus bows his head beneath the hovering dove of the Holy Spirit.

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