Joachim Anthonisz Wtewael (1566-1638), John the Baptist Preaching in the Forest, 1618

Joachim Anthonisz Wtewael (1566-1638), John the Baptist Preaching in the Forest, 1618. Oil on wood. 86 x 145 cm. KMSsp346
Download the image in high resolution |Public Domain

A troop of Civil Guard soldiers are resting in a forest. The standard-bearer stands in an erect contrapposto pose, the drummer reclines with his drum, the cook, his stock of poultry tied to his belt, sways forward, while the mounted captain and lieutenant are raised above the rest on horseback, dressed in their finery.

Symbolic contrasts
The main protagonist is, however, John the Baptist, shown standing on a hillock in the middle distance as he preaches the word of God to an attentive assembly of common people. The contrast between the brightly coloured figures from the artist’s own time and the Biblical protagonist in the middle distance is accentuated by the colours.

Mannerist style
Wtewael’s colour scheme and many variations on the figura serpentinata (a figure turning around its own axis) are typical of the Mannerist style, which Wtewael adopted in Italy and France.

Updated: 26.apr.2018
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