Allegory of Salvation with the Virgin and Christ C
Giovan Battista di Jacopo
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
The figures in this painting by Rosso Fiorentino are elongated and stiff. The faces are expressive and somewhat frantic. Several of the figures are shown in complicated twisting positions. This style of painting is called Mannerism – discord, ambiguity, a harsh color palette and contorted poses are all characteristic of the style. Mannerism developed during the late Renaissance. This painting tells a variation on a Biblical story popular in Italy in the 1500s. The Christ Child meets the young John the Baptist –they are the two nude boys in the painting. John’s elderly mother, Elizabeth, reaches out to the baby Jesus. In Rosso’s version of the story, Elizabeth foretells the future of both children: John will be executed and Jesus will be crucified. Elizabeth and Mary share their distress, and the two angels above them respond to the dramatic news as well. At hearing the news, John has fallen down as if he is dead.