St John the Baptist
Leonardo da Vinci
1513 – 1516
Louvre Museum

The artist depicts the Baptist in solitude. He gazes at the viewer bearing an enigmatic smile. Isn’t that smile familiar? A ‘Leonardesque motif’ it instantly reminds  one of the famous Mona Lisa. John’s right hand is raised. This gesture symbolizes his mission to ‘prepare the way’ for the coming of the Messiah. The reed cross and the animal pelts serve as his iconographic details. Notice the light that radiates through the Baptist. It illuminates the words of the Gospel – ‘He came to bear witness to the Light so that all might believe through him.’ It is in this light that we encounter the Light of the World.

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– Archdiocesan Heritage Museum

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