Christ Baptized

Kneeling on a rock with his head bowed, Christ pushes his hands forcefully against his chest in a sign of humility--an emotional display played up by Juan Carreņo de Miranda's bold drawing style. Carreņo made this preparatory drawing for his painting The Baptism of Christ, which shows John the Baptist anointing Jesus in the desert as God watches from above. To add solidity to the chest and limbs, Carreņo used stumping, a technique of blending charcoal and chalk with a soft, stick like object. Thick, charcoal-black lines delineate rippling muscles and slightly enlarged limbs. White-chalk highlights create the illusion that parts of the body project forward in space, adding a sense of three-dimensionality. Red chalk on Christ's hands and feet creates further naturalistic details by suggesting flesh tones. Although Carreņo's rough drawing style is distinctly Spanish, the combination of charcoal and red and white chalk reflects the strong influence of Renaissance Venetian art on seventeenth-century Spanish artists. Carreņo studied the works of Titian, and often collaborated with other Spanish artists captivated by the Italian style, such as fellow court painter Francisco Rizi.

Charcoal, red and white chalk, with stumping (about 1682)

by Juan Carreņo de Miranda (Spanish, 1614-1685)

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