collections
Mexican Colonial

Nicolas, workshop of Enriquez

Mexico act. 1730-1787
Saint John the Baptist 45.0370

The ministry of John the Baptist is told in the synoptic gospels of the Bible. In the gospel of John (1:29) John the Baptist indicates Jesus by saying, "Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world!" The first part of this phrase in Latin, Ecce Agnus Dei, was used in Christian liturgy in celebrations of the Mass. Painted sculpted images of John the Baptist are therefore frequently found in Catholic altar ensembles with the image placed in such a way that John's gesture to the lamb and painted Latin phrase would also serve to direct the pious to the celebration of the Mass on the altar. This painting may have originally been part of an altar ensemble, choir screen, or other ecclesiastical decorative scheme. Eighteenth-century Mexican artists, including painters, often served as general contractors for altars and church decorations, bringing together teams of architects, carpenters, guilders, sculptors, and painters. Scholars believe that Enríquez, who was active in both Mexico City and Guadaljara, received such commissions and assembled a workshop to handle them. Other works ascribed to Enríquez lead scholars to believe that this painting, also, is from his workshop.

 

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