A contemporary of Michelangelo and collaborator of Leonardo, the Florentine-born aristocrat Rustici was an accomplished sculptor. This statue was inspired by contemporary depictions of the saint--young, beardless, and wearing his customary hair shirt--executed by the sculptors Donatello and Benedetto da Maiano. Scholars have differed on the dating of this figure, some placing it early in Rustici's career, at the time he executed decorations for the chapel at the Villa Salviati in ca. 1512-18, and others arguing for a later date.
St. John the Baptist
Florence, Italy, ca. 1515
29 3/8 x 10 1/4 x 8 5/8 inches (755 x 260 x 220 mm)
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1909.
Baron Maurice de Rothschild (1881-1957), Paris; Duveen Brothers, Paris; from whom purchased by J. Pierpont Morgan in 1909 (as Antonio Rossellino).