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17 September 2014
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St John the Baptist
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This image of St John the Baptist was the last painting that Leonardo produced, and it was in his possession when he died. It is one of only a few that we can be absolutely certain the master painted.

Leonardo's version is strikingly different to other paintings of the Saint, who is normally portrayed as gaunt, and scraping a living in the desert on locusts and honey. It captures four recurring themes of Leonardo's figures; an enigmatic smile, flowing curly hair, and a finger pointing to heaven, all defined by dense shadows.

Many copies of this painting have been made, particularly by Leonardo's pupils.

Look For - The figure is wearing animal skins, and holding a reed cross. Experts believe these were added by a later painter.
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More from bbc.co.uk

BBC Leonardo Gallery
More Leonardo paintings

Go further

Leonardo: The Man, His Machines
In depth information about the St John the Baptist

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