St John the Baptist

St John the Baptist is the painting by Cavaliere d’Arpino (Giuseppe Cesari) located in the Borghese Gallery in Rome. It is oil on slate with 33 x 26 cm dimensions.


Camillo Borghese is chosen Pope Paul V and instantly names his sister’s child, Scipione Caffarella, as Cardinal-Nephew. Not content with being a pope’s nephew, Scipione gets to be the adopted child of his uncle and is known from that point as Scipione Borghese. He got to be the foremost corrupt collector the art world has ever seen.

Scipione must have realized that as Cardinal-Nephew in corrupt 17th-century Rome, he would have more than plentiful access to any funds he might require, and so he exchanged his right of legacy with his cousin Marcantonio, in trade for each piece within the family’s art collection. In spite of his position of colossal impact, he chose not to include himself in issues of state, and instep used his power to fulfill his obsession to have the world’s most noteworthy art. The collection was as of now astonishing, but it wasn’t sufficient to fulfill Scipione. He had plans for a marvelous villa, custom built to display the crown gems of his collection, and he was decided to fill it up. One of his favored painters was Giuseppe Cesari, way better known as Cavalier d’Arpino, a mannerist painter who might boast that Caravaggio had once been his student.

In reality, it was d’Arpino who introduced Scipione to the work of Caravaggio, as well as that of Bernini, both of whom would go on to become the cardinal’s favorite artists. Since Caravaggio had once worked in d’Arpino’s studio, the last mentioned possessed a number of Caravaggio’s early works of art, and had a collection totalling 107 works by different artists. Scipione craved after d’Arpino’s collection (the Caravaggio works in particular) and it didn’t take long before he got his hands on it. In 1607, when the artist fizzled to pay a tax bill, Pope Paul V reallocated his whole collection and gave it to Scipione.

The collection included Caravaggio’s Boy with a Basket of Fruit and Sick Bacchus, both of which hang in his villa nowadays. In case Scipione was addicted to collecting art, at that point his uncle the Pope was his enabler


The halo of St John the Baptist, who is beardless and has an womanly perspective, is wedged between the trunks of two trees growing by a spring. Along side other details of the flora within the frontal area, these are the only naturalistic components within the painting, in spite of the fact that the inventory of 1607 described it as a “little landscape”.

This St John the Baptist (datable some time recently 1607) may have shaped part of the Cavalier d’Arpino’s goods seized on the orders of Paul V in 1607, a date in which constitutes the terminus ante quem for this painting

It was moreover ascribed to Simone Cantarini, a painter from Pesaro, and Paolo Guidotti, likely due to confusion between the labels.

Borghese Gallery in Rome,

Author: Cavaliere d'Arpino

Cavalier d'arpino

Giuseppe Cesari, known as the Cavaliere d'Arpino, was an Italian Mannerist painter of the late 16th century. The energy, emotional truthfulness, and clear color of his paintings foreshadow the Baroque style of the 17th century. He was much patronized in Rome by both Clement and Sixtus V. Also, he was the chief of the studio in which Caravaggio trained upon the younger painter's arrival in Rome.