John the Baptist


Domenico Ghirlandaio, Preaching of St. John the Baptist. Fresco, 1486–1490. Santa Maria Novella, Florence.

John the Baptist is the patron saint of Florence. He is portrayed in the center pointing to a cross and preaching about the coming of the Messiah. A listening Jesus can be seen on the path in the upper left corner.  This fresco is part of the Life of St John the Baptist series Ghirlandaio made in the Tornabuoni family chapel in the church of Santa Maria Novella in Florence. At this time in Florence the rights to paint chapels in a new church were bought and awarded the same way naming rights of sports venues are now in many modern cultures. Ghirlandaio had a talent for depicting contemporary life and portraits of contemporary people within the context of religious narratives. This brought him great popularity and many large commissions.