Giovan Francesco Rustici, Preaching of the Baptist

Giovan Francesco Rustici
Sala del Paradiso
Original location
Baptistery of Saint John, exterior, above the north gate

Group of statues in bronze, formerly above the North doors of the Baptistery, showing St John the Baptist preaching to a Levite and a Pharisee. Realized by Giovan Francesco Rustici between 1506 and 1511. Rustici set his statues on the bases of a medieval group with inscriptions in Hebrew, mirroring their original subject matter. The inscriptions on the bronze bases are the verses from the Gospels in which some Jews ask John the Baptist if he is the Messiah, but John replies that he is only preparing the way for Jesus Christ. Rustici manages to convey the wealth of psychological significance in this dialogue in his monumental bronze figures: the suspicion of the Pharisee on the left; the firmness of the Baptist in the centre and the doubt of the Levite on the right. The acute characterization of the figures is reminiscent of studies by Leonardo da Vinci, who was in Florence at the time and who was a close friend of Rustici. Giorgio Vasari believed Da Vinci had a hand in helping Rustici draw the figures. 

Discover the other artworks

Sala del Paradiso