Andrea Sansovino and Innocenzo Spinazzi, Baptism of Christ

Sansovino, Andrea - Spinazzi, Innocenzo
1502-1505, 1792
Sala del Paradiso
Original location
Baptistery of Saint John, exterior, above the east gate
White marble

This marble group of statues depicting the Baptism of Christ originally stood over the Paradise Doors of the Baptistery. Christ and John the Baptist are by Andrea Sansovino (1502-1505), completed by Vincenzo Danti (1569), while the Angel is by Innocenzo Spinazzi (1792). From around 1320 the doors of the Baptistery were crowned with sculptures by Tino di Camaino, but in 1502 it was decided to replace them with statues in Renaissance style. The first of the new statues, a Baptism of Christ, was carved for the main doors to the east: Ghiberti’s Gates of Paradise. Andrea Sansovino sculpted the figures of Christ and John the Baptist, which were completed by Vincenzo Danti half a century later, while the Angel is a late 18th century addition. Placed as it is above the main doors of the Baptistery, the group reminds visitors both of the saint the church is dedicated to, St John the Baptist, and its liturgical purpose as a place of baptism. To deserve the privilege of administering the sacrament of baptism to Christ and recognizing him as the Savior of the World was the culmination of St John the Baptist’s life. 

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Sala del Paradiso