The San Giovanni Battista by Caravaggio arrives at the Royal Museums of Turin and will be exhibited from 25 February to 30 May in the rooms dedicated to Caravaggesque painters in the Galleria Sabauda.
The work, created between 1604 and 1606, comes from Rome from the National Galleries of Ancient Art thanks to an exchange promoted by the management of the two museums on the occasion of the exhibition L'ora dello spectatore. How the images use us (Rome, Palazzo Barberini, 2 December 2020 - 5 April 2021). In fact, the Roman exhibition welcomes in its path the very rare panel by Hans Memling with the Passion of Christ, preserved in the Galleria Sabauda.
The exhibition event, supported by the Turin Council for the Enhancement of Artistic and Cultural Heritage and by Reale Mutua, is an extraordinary opportunity to bring the collections of two great Italian art galleries and the genius of their unsurpassed masters to the attention of the public.
Caravaggio, one of the most celebrated and beloved painters of all time, with his bold and innovative style experiments in the early 1600s new compositions of sacred and profane subjects, populated by characters depicted in the immediacy of their humanity and enriched by fragments of nature dead. Among these is also the St. John who depicts "the Baptist", one of the most revered saints by Christian churches, an ascetic often considered as the last of the Prophets. Caravaggio shows him still a teenager, in a moment of rest in the desert, where he spent most of his life. The figure, wrapped in a red cloak, emerges from the darkness, his face in dim light and his hands hardened by the sun, his shy and melancholy gaze turned to the dark beyond the frame, as if surprised by a mysterious presence. Alongside, the objects that qualify its identity: the cross of reeds and the bowl for baptisms.
The work, escorted by the Carabinieri Corps, arrived in Turin on 24 February last and will be exhibited for the next three months in a room of the permanent itinerary of the Galleria Sabauda. The exhibition-dossier will allow to present to the public one of the masterpieces of the painter who with his revolutionary language was able to change the course of art history, but it will also be a unique opportunity to show the close dialogue that exists with the works of those painters Italians and foreigners, of the first and second generation, who were deeply influenced by his painting.