Beheading of Saint John the Baptist Caravaggio Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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Located at St. John's Co-cathedral, Valletta, where Caravaggio was commissioned and briefly served as a knight, The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist painting is an oil painting which is considered to be one of the most important works in western painting.

It measures 142 by 200 inches. The scene in the painting shows the execution of John the Baptist near Salome who is standing with a golden platter to receive his head.

Another woman who realises that the execution is wrong stands there in shock while the executioner draws his dagger to finish beheading as he receives instructions from a jailer.

This is the only work by the artist that has his signature on it.

This painting was completed in Malta back in 1608. This piece of art had been badly damaged but received restoration prior to an exhibition in Rome.

During this period is when the signature of the artist on the painting became visible.

This signature however is controversial because some argue that the work is signed 'f Michelang.o' to indicate his involvement in the painting while the popular argument is that it is 'I' to indicate that Caravaggio signed it as a confession to some crime.

Starring in the late 16th and early 17th century, Caravaggio was a famous artist who came up with prints, posters, sculptures and paintings. However, he is famously known for his paintings.

Apart from interest, his character and movement around Europe also caught public attention. Due to the many problems that he had, Caravaggio like many artists, his private life interferes with his professional life.

He had a controversial lifestyle which made it unbelievable how an artist with such good eye for art could engage in social crimes whenever he was not engaged in work.However, whenever his artistic projects were completed; he got involved in social problems of all manners which saw the pope issue a death warrant for him.

He was a great artist in that up to date, students joining the art arena, are made to study most of his works as a way of familiarising themselves with this major.