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Joos de Momper the Younger, Rocky Landscape with Saint John the Baptist

Key facts
Full title Rocky Landscape with Saint John the Baptist
Artist Joos de Momper the Younger
Artist dates 1564 - 1634/5
Date made late 1620s
Medium and support Oil on wood
Dimensions 62.2 × 48.3 cm
Acquisition credit Bequeathed by George Grimes Watson, 2015
Inventory number NG6657
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Rocky Landscape with Saint John the Baptist
Joos de Momper the Younger

We might feel small and insignificant when looking at this wild and unruly landscape. The large sand-coloured rock formations framed by trees, shrubs and trailing vines are animated by small animals and birds. It’s only at second glance that we notice the small group in the left foreground standing before a grotto.

The man in the red cloak is Saint John the Baptist, depicted with his customary attributes of the lamb and reed cross and clad in a camel skin. He confronts four men in exotic dress, possibly a group of Pharisees or Sadducees who, according to the Gospel of Matthew (Matthew 3: 7), came to observe and investigate his preaching and baptisms.

The rapid brushstrokes in this landscape enhance the realism of the details, but we know that the artist has departed from nature by using stock motifs that we can find in a number of his other works.

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