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“Baptism of Christ” by Jacopo Bassano

The Baptism of Christ by Jacopo Bassano

“Baptism of Christ” by Jacopo Bassano

“Baptism of Christ” by Jacopo Bassano was planned as an altarpiece which is expressive and unique in showing the baptism of Christ as a night scene. Bassano left it unfinished at his death in 1592, and his heirs retained it for over a century. Bassano presents the baptism of Christ not as a sunny event in a pastoral landscape, but as the foreshadowing of the suffering in the Passion of Jesus. The painting’s unfinished style can be seen as a step towards modernism.

Jacopo Bassano painted mostly religious paintings including landscape and has been considered to be the first modern landscape painter. Bassano’s pictures, and those of his four sons, Francesco Bassano the Younger, Giovanni Battista da Ponte, Leandro Bassano, Girolamo da Ponte who all followed him closely, were popular in Venice because of their depiction of animals and nocturnal scenes.

Reflections

  • What is unusual about this  Baptism painting compared to the many other pictures of this subject?
  • Why does this painting show the Baptism of Christ taking place at night-time?
  • The artist was over 80 years old when he painted this painting which he did not finish before his death. How did the artist age and looming years influence this painting?

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Baptism of Christ

  • Title:                 Baptism of Christ
  • Artist:              Jacopo Bassano
  • Year:                 1590
  • Medium:         Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions:  Height: 191.8 cm (75.5 in); Width: 160.3 cm (63.1 in)

Jacopo Bassano

  • Name:           Jacopo Bassano (Born: Jacopo dal Ponte)
  • Born:            1510 – Bassano del Grappa near Venice, Republic of Venice
  • Died:             1592 (aged 81–82) – Bassano del Grappa near Venice, Republic of Venice
  • Nationality: Italian
  • Movement:  Venetian School

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“If a man devotes himself to art, much evil is avoided that happens otherwise if one is idle.”
– Albrecht Dürer

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Photo Credit: Jacopo Bassano [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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