Saint John the Baptist

Italian (Florence)
About 1505–15
Giovanni Francesco Rustici (Italian, Florentine, 1474–1554)

Object Place: Florence, Italy


100.3 x 33 x 26.7 cm (39 1/2 x 13 x 10 1/2 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Glazed terracotta

On View

Italian Renaissance Gallery (Gallery 206)





White glazed terracotta figure of St. John the Baptist, barefoot and dressed in animal skins.

With sharply turned head and intensely focused gaze, this figure of Saint John seems almost to speak. The statue is attributed to Giovanni Francesco Rustici, the Florentine sculptor, who worked most closely with Leonardo da Vinci. The sculpture’s creamy white glaze, very different from the pure white achieved by the della Robbia workshop, suggests that even in this monochrome sculpture Rustici was seeking a particular coloristic effect through contrast of light and shadow.


1950, Irene Rothschild (Mrs. Solomon R.) Guggenheim (b. 1868 - d. 1954), New York; 1950, gift of Mrs. Solomon R. Guggenheim to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 8, 1950)

Credit Line

Gift of Mrs. Solomon R. Guggenheim