Baptism of Christ

Baptism of Christ

designed 1645-1646, probably made 1650-1655

Alessandro Algardi

(Italian, 1598-1654)


Overall: 62.5 x 46.8 x 33.4 cm (24 5/8 x 18 7/16 x 13 1/8 in.)

Andrew R. and Martha Holden Jennings Fund 1965.471


When Innocent X (ruled 1644-55) became pope, Alessandro Algardi endeavored to obtain his patronage. This bronze Baptism of Christ is a casting from the molds used for an original silver sculpture that Algardi presented to the new pope to gain his support. The composition depicts an important scene in the life of Christ. On the right is John the Baptist, who pours water onto Jesus's head from a shell. As Christ bows his head to be baptized, a little angel holds the edge of his cloak. Algardi worked carefully to make this piece exciting from a number of points of view. Its dramatic emphasis shifts, depending on the viewer's vantage point.

See also
Type of artwork: 

Contact us

The information about this object, including provenance information, is based on historic information and may not be currently accurate or complete. Research on objects is an ongoing process, but the information about this object may not reflect the most current information available to CMA. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

Request a digital file from Image Services that is not available through CC0, a detail image, or any image with a color bar. If you have questions about requesting an image, please email