Garofalo uses landscape elements to silhouette and emphasize the sacred figures. John the Baptist is placed against a dark bluff, which signifies his self-imposed isolation in the wilderness; in contrast Christ is placed in the lighter half of the composition, which underscores the divine nature of His baptism. The graceful elegance of the figures, coupled with the skillfully rendered sfumato (hazy) effects in the distant landscape, impart a delicate beauty to this painting. The Dominican nun in the right foreground makes it likely it was commissioned by one of the many Dominican convents in the region.
Open Content Program
The Birmingham Museum of art makes available digital images of works in the Museum’s collection believed to be in the public domain. Images are available free of charge for any use, commercial or non-commercial. Users do not need to contact the Museum for authorization to use these images. They are available through the Online Collection at artsbma.org/collection. See detailed instructions for specific work types below.
Identifying Open Content Images
The mission of the Birmingham Museum of Art is to spark the creativity, imagination, and liveliness of Birmingham by connecting all its citizens to the experience, meaning, and joy of art. The Museum understands that by sharing images of works online without restrictions, the BMA collection becomes more accessible to a larger audience.
For objects with images the rights status is displayed in the “credit line” section of the object information. The rights status or rights holder will be indicated. If the work is in the public domain and/or the image may be downloaded, the download icon will appear in the bottom right corner of the image area. To search the collection click here.
Works With Restrictions
For copyright-protected images that have been approved by copyright holders, a presentation-sized image is available, but can not be downloaded. A copyright statement clearly listing the name of the copyright holder is visible in the credit line area when the image is displayed. Thumbnail-sized images of copyrighted works are displayed under fair use.
When the owner of a work is impossible to determine or contact, the work is deemed an orphan work. The Museum will make thumbnails of orphan works available. If you are the representative or rights holder of an orphan work, please contact Rights and Reproductions.
Please use the following source credit when reproducing an Open Content image: Courtesy Birmingham Museum of Art, followed by the credit line provided in the object description.
Although there are no restrictions or conditions of the use of an Open Content image, the BMA would appreciate a gratis copy of any scholarly publication(s) in which the images are reproduced in order to maintain collection bibliography. Copies may be sent to the attention of:
Open Content Program
Digital Media Department
The Birmingham Museum of Art
2000 Rev. Abraham Woods Jr. Blvd
Birmingham, AL 35203
- If an image is not available under Open Content it may be because the work is still under copyright, the work is not owned by the museum, or the work has not yet been photographed to BMA standards.
- Request Images: If an image of a work is not available online or is under copyright, you may submit a request through our online request form. You may also request files in additional sizes or formats. A fee will be charged for this service.
- Our determination of public domain is made in good faith.
- Electronic records are based on historical information and may not be the Museum’s complete or current knowledge about an object. Research is ongoing.
- The ‘On View’ status may be delayed on the website by 24 hours. Please check with our Rights and Registration Office to confirm that a work of art will be on view before traveling to the Museum.
- Titles The Baptism of Christ (Proper)
- Artist Benvenuto Tisi, called Garofalo, Italy, 1481 - 1559
- Medium tempera on panel
- Dimensions 23 3/4 x 15 7/8 in. (60.3 x 40.3 cm) frame: 33 3/4 × 24 3/4 × 3 1/4 in. (85.7 × 62.9 × 8.3 cm)
- Credit Line Gift of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, 1961.94
- Work Type painting
- Classification Paintings
- On View
- Provenance Cardinal Carlo Barberini (1630-1704), Rome by about 1690 [see note 1]. With Count Alessandro Contini-Bonacossi (1878-1955), Florence [see note 2]; purchased by Samuel H. Kress (1863-1955), New York, March 4, 1932; gift to the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1939, deaccessioned, 1952; returned to the Samuel H. Kress Foundation; on loan to the Birmingham Museum of Art, Alabama,1952; gift of the Kress Foundation to the Birmingham Museum of Art, Alabama,1961
1. According to the bill of sale from Contini-Bonacossi to Kress dated March 4, 1932 and verified in the inventory of the contents of Cardinal Carlo Barberini's Palazzo Barberini alle Quattro Fontane dating from 1692-1704 as transcribed in Marilyn Aronberg Lavin, Seventeenth-century Barberini Documents and Inventories of Art (New York: New York University Press, 1975), p. 434. See object file.
2. Fern Rusk Shapley, Paintings from the Samuel H. Kress Collection, Italian Schools XV-XVI Century (London: Phaidon Press, 1968), p. 79.