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Record Image
Schedoni, Bartolomeo (Italian, b.1578, d.1615), Attributed to
Saint John and the Lamb
oil on canvas
880 x 1045 mm sight size; 1255 x 1425 mm frame size
Collection of the Dunedin Public Art Gallery. Purchased 1984 with funds from the Dunedin Public Art Gallery Society.
This dramatic but graceful painting reflects the Baroque inspiration of Caravaggio (1571–1610). The Renaissance produced a reaction from ideal human forms, known as Mannerism, followed in turn by a reorientation to realism, both physical and, in Caravaggio’s work, psychological. His paintings showed the dirty soles of human feet, the palpable flesh of Christ’s wounds and the homoerotic attraction of male bodies. This painting is attributed to Bartolomeo Schedoni (1578–1615), who was in Rome when Caravaggio was there, although the attribution has been questioned.
There are few works in New Zealand public collections representing this aspect of Baroque art: the Auckland Art Gallery’s painting of St Sebastian by Guido Reni (1575–1642) is another.
Dunedin Public Art Gallery’s Saint John and the Lamb portrays a youthful St John the Baptist who represents neither the predestined infant nor the elderly ascetic, but the young man in the wilderness wearing only skins. It is a return to Classical images of Bacchus, reinforced by new techniques such as powerful foreshortening.

not on view

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