Object type



St John the Baptist

Place Associated

France, Lorraine (place of manufacture)


circa 1500-1510




overall: 825 mm x 304 mm


A standing figure of St John the Baptist, with his weight brought forward on to his front left leg. He holds a closed book in his left hand, upon which rests the Agnus Dei (The Lamb of God), his right hand is missing. His head is turned three quarters to the right, and his hair and beard are long and curled. He is wearing a loosely draped cloak over his characteristic hair shirt, and over his right shoulder is the leg of a sheep (possibly part of his shirt or cloak). His legs and feet are bare.

There are traces of red, blue and dark brown paint layers on the garments, and a creamy paint on the face and legs. The sculpture is carved from a single piece of wood, conceived to be viewed from the front only as the reverse is left unworked. The un-carved reverse is drilled with three holes for dowels, presumably for fixing to a larger arrangement, frame or niche.

This sculpture is reminiscent of the work of Jan Crocq (active 1486-1510). A native of the Burgundian Netherlands, Crocq worked most extensively in eastern France, where he served René II, Duke of Lorraine and Bar, working mostly in the town of Nancy.

A prophet of the Old Testament and a martyr of the New Testament, John the Baptist was one of the most widely venerated saints of the Middle Ages. His life features prominently in the Gospels, where he recognised Christ as the promised saviour. In acknowledgement of Christ’s redemptive role and future sacrifice, John hailed Jesus as the ‘Lamb of God’.

Credit Line/Donor

Gifted by Sir William and Lady Burrell to the City of Glasgow, 1944


Burrell Collection: Wood Carvings

ID Number



Burrell Collection

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