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  • The Baptism

    Artist:
    Goltzius, Hendrick. 1558-1617
    Technique:
    oil
    Dimensions:
    203,5x132,5 cm

Goltzius, Hendrick. 1558-1617

The Baptism

Holland, 1608

The Baptism forms a pair with another work by Goltzius in the Hermitage, The Fall of Man. As recorded in all four books of Gospels in the New Testament, Christ came to be baptised in the waters of the River Jordan. Here we see how John the Baptist upturns a shell over the head of Jesus Christ, letting forth pale streams of water. In form, the shell recalls a spiral, symbol of the purity and chastity of Christ's mother, the Virgin Mary. Unusually, the ritual of baptism with water takes place on the land; only the distant river in the bluish landscape reminding us of the biblical waters of the Jordan. Christ's body is lit by a flickering, mystical light which flows from the open skies. The white dove set in its bright yellowish-orange glow illustrates the words of St Matthew: "and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Gospels According to Matthew, iii: 16-17).

Title:

The Baptism

Place:

Date:

Material:

Technique:

oil

Dimensions:

203,5x132,5 cm

Acquisition date:

Entered the Hermitage in 1764; acquired from the J.E. Gotzkowsky collection in Berlin

Inventory Number:

ГЭ-701

Comment:

Pair to the Painting «Adam and Eve (The Fall of Man)» (ГЭ-702)

Category:

Collection: