Masterly relief of the Baptism of Christ in the Jordan River


Masterly relief of the Baptism of Christ in the Jordan River

Estimated price: € 2.000 / 4.000
USD: 2.146 / 4.292 $GBP: 1.691 / 3.381 £
Starting price:  1.000
  • USD: 1.073 €
  • GBP: 845 €
  • USD: 1.073 $
  • GBP: 845 £
USD: 1.073 $GBP: 845 £

Additional information



Masterly relief of the Baptism of Christ in the Jordan River

Masterly relief of the Baptism of Christ in the Jordan River
Danube region, probably Vienna?
16th/17th century
Soiled original polychromy
92 x 112 cm, depth 13 cm

The biblical story of the baptism of Christ tells of the moment when Jesus is baptised by John the Baptist in the Jordan at the beginning of his ministry. This event is of great significance in the Christian tradition, as it represents the public confirmation of Jesus as the Son of God. As Jesus rises from the water, the heavens open and the Holy Spirit descends upon him in the form of a dove, accompanied by a voice from heaven proclaiming: ‘This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’

A masterful relief depicting this decisive moment was made around 1600 in the Danube region, probably in Vienna. It bears its original polychromy, the surface of which is only soiled due to age.
The relief shows John the Baptist on the right, baptising the kneeling Christ with a shell in the Jordan river. Above them, the Holy Spirit descends from the clouds, depicted as a dove with shining rays symbolising divine approval and presence.

The scene is set amidst lush vegetation, trees and rocks, depicted with a naturalistic attention to detail characteristic of the Danube School. This movement is known for its intricate and vivid depictions of nature, seamlessly blending landscapes with religious narratives. The lush surroundings of the relief convey a sense of immersion, drawing the viewer into the sacred moment.

The craftsmanship of the relief is exceptional, with fine carvings and an attentive rendering of textures and forms. Despite the passing of centuries, the sandstone has retained its expressive depth and dynamic composition, emphasising the artistic skill and spiritual fervour of its creator. This relief is a testimony to the rich artistic heritage of the Danube region, in which religious devotion is combined with the beauty of nature.


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