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The pose of this boy, who appears ready to jump up, recalls paintings and sculpture by Michelangelo, to whom the statue was once attributed. But the refined physique reflects Susini's training by his uncle Antonio, an assistant to the late 16th-century bronze sculptor Giovanni Bologna. In Florentine art the city's patron saint, John the Baptist, often appears as a boy, providing a devout role model for children. The Lamb of God at his feet symbolizes Jesus, whose coming John foretold. With holy water filling the shell in John's hand, the statue might have stood against the wall of a chapel, with one figure gazing toward the altar, the other toward entering worshippers.


Purchased 1900 near Bologna by (Albitez), as by Andrea Sansovino, for Daniel Z. Noorian [d. 1929], New York and Newark;[1] (his estate sale, American Art Association-Anderson Galleries, New York, 12-14 March 1931, no. 643, as by Sansovino, bought in);[2] retained by Noorian's widow, Belle Ward Noorian; possibly (sale, Parke-Bernet, New York,1942);[3] (Piero Tozzi [1882-1974], New York);[4] his estate; purchased 26 October 2005 through (Robert Simon Fine Art, New York, New York) by NGA.

Exhibition History
Leonardo Da Vinci Loan Exhibition, Los Angeles County Museum, 1949, no. 101, repro., as Attributed to Pierino da Vinci.
Loan to display with permanent collection, Casa Buonarotti, Florence, 1957-1959.
Vatican Pavilion, New York World's Fair, 1965, as Attributed to Michelangelo, not in catalogue.
Creighton, Gilbert. "The Hundred-Dollar Misunderstanding." [Review of Fernanda de' Maffei, Michelangelo's Lost St. John: The Story of a Discovery]. The New York Review of Books 3, no. 1 (20 August 1964).
De'Maffei, Fernanda. Michelangelo's Lost St. John. New York, 1964: as Michelangelo.
"Lost But Not Found" Review of De' Maffei, Michelangelo's Lost St. John. Times Literary Supplement (4 October 1964).
Isermeyer, Christian Adolf. "Das Michelangelo-Jahr 1964 und die Forschungen zu Michelangelo als Maler und Bildhauer von 1959 bis 1965" Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte 28, no 4-5 (1965): 315-318.
Lombardo, Josef Vincent. Michelangelo: The Pieta and Other Masterpieces. New York, 1965: 19-24, pls. 12-14, as by Michelangelo.
Neugass, Fritz. "Ein Jungendwerk Michelangelos." Weltkunst 35, no. 13 (July 1965): cover, 563, repros., as Attributed to Michelangelo.
Baldini, Umberto. L'opera completa di Michelangelo scultore. Milan, 1973: as "derived from Pierino da Vinci."
Lombardo, Josef Vincent. Michelangelo: New Discoveries. New York, 1976: as by Michelangelo.
Beck, James. "Pierino da Vinci: fra Michelangelo e Leonardo." and Pedretti, Carlo.”Il nipote scultore.” In Mario Cianchi, ed. Pierino da Vinci: Atti della giornata di studio; Vinci, Biblioteca Leonardiana, 26 maggio 1990. Florence, 1995: 13-15, 25-28, figs. 5, 8, 10, 36, 38, pl. 21; and figs. 5, 8, 10, 36 and 38, pl. XXI, as Attributed to Pierino da Vinci.
Parronchi, Alessandro. "Una nuova ipotesi di attribuzione per il San Giovannino Tozzi." Labyrinthos 41/42, 2002: 25-46, as by Pietro Bernini and Gianlorenzo Bernini.
Parronchi, Alessandro. “Una nuova attribuzione per il San Giovannino Tozzi,” in Alessandro Parronchi. Opere giovanili di Michelangelo VI: Con o senza Michelangelo. Florence, 2003: 71-78, fig. 99-121, as Pietro and Gianlorenzo Bernini, c. 1614-15.
Pratesi, Giovanni, ed. Repertorio della scultura fiorentina del Cinquecento. 3 vols. Turin, 2003: 3:fig. 636, as Pierino da Vinci.
Vogel, Carol. "This Deal Came Around Twice." The New York Times (20 November 2005).
D.M. [David Masello or Dana Micucci]. “A Boy and His Lamb.” Arts & Antiques 29, no. 11 (November 2006): 68.
Caglioti, Francesco. “Il ‘San Giovannino’ mediceo di Michelangelo, da Firenze a Ubeda.” Prospettiva 145 (January 2012; published June 2013): 2-81, esp. 5-6, 34-37, repro., 58-59 nn. 34-38, 60 n. 39, as Gianfrancesco Susini.
Leigh, Catesby. "Reviving Sacred Sculpture." First Things (June/July 2012): 19-21, repro.
"Art for the Nation: The Story of the Patrons' Permanent Fund." National Gallery of Art Bulletin, no. 53 (Fall 2015): 24, repro.
Freddolini, Francesco. "A Rediscovered Work by Domenico Pieratti: The Bust of Louis Hesselin." Mitteilungen des Kunsthistorischen Institutes in Florenz LVIII Heft 3 (2016): 417-418, n. 30, repro.