The Cleveland Museum of Art

Collection Online as of July 23, 2024

The Birth and Naming of John the Baptist

The Birth and Naming of John the Baptist

(Netherlandish, c. 1460–1519)
Framed: 99 x 60 x 7.5 cm (39 x 23 5/8 x 2 15/16 in.); Unframed: 88.4 x 49.9 cm (34 13/16 x 19 5/8 in.)
Location: not on view

Did You Know?

Flemish artists are famed for their attention to minute detail. Here the artist paints a domestic setting from his own time period, complete with details like a brazier for heating in the lower right corner and concave mirror above the bed.


This painting was once a panel from the important five-panel altarpiece commissioned by Queen Isabella for the Carthusian monastery of Miraflores near Burgos, site of the royal tombs of her parents and brother. The altarpiece, of which the other panels survive, was likely painted during the artist’s early employment at the royal court. Typical of Flemish art of the period with its love of naturalistic detail and almost photographic depiction of a domestic interior, this scene suggests a comfortable burgher’s home in 15th-century Ghent or Bruges in which the artist transforms a contemporary setting to frame the story of the birth of John the Baptist. Having just given birth, Elizabeth lies in bed. Nearby, her cousin, the Virgin Mary, presents the newly born child to his elderly father, Zacharias. Having lost his ability to speak when he doubted an angel’s prophecy of the child’s birth, Zacharias writes the chosen name for his son. At this moment, his speech is restored.
  • Monastery of Miraflores, Spain
    (Frederick Mont, New York, sold to the Cleveland Museum of Art)
    The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH
  • Lee, Sherman E. “The Year in Review for 1975.” The Bulletin of the Cleveland Museum of Art 63, no. 2 (February 1976): 31–71. Reproduced: p. 36; Mentioned: p. 67, no. 59
    Lurie, Ann Tzeutschler. “Birth and Naming of St. John the Baptist Attributed to Juan de Flandes: A Newly Discovered Panel from a Hypothetical Altarpiece.” The Bulletin of the Cleveland Museum of Art 63, no. 5 (May 1976): 119–135. Mentioned and reproduced: p. 119-135, figs. 1,5,6,14, 27 and Cover
    Merrill, Ross M. “A Technical Study: Birth and Naming of St. John the Baptist.” The Bulletin of the Cleveland Museum of Art 63, no. 5 (May 1976): 136–145. Mentioned and reproduced: p. 136-145
    The Cleveland Museum of Art. Handbook of the Cleveland Museum of Art/1978. Cleveland, OH: The Cleveland Museum of Art, 1978. Reproduced: p. 83
    Roberts-Jones, Philippe. The History of Painting in Belgium: From the 14th Century Tot [Sic] the Present Day : from the Earliest Masters of the Old Southern Netherlands and the Principality of Liège to Our Contemporary Artists. Brussels: Renaissance du Livre, 1995. p. 99
    Borchert, Till, and Andreas Beyer. Age of Van Eyck: The Mediterranean World and Early Netherlandish Painting, 1430-1530. New York, N.Y.: Thames & Hudson, 2002. cat. 116, fig. 245, p. 217
    Elsig, Frédéric. La naissance des genres: la peinture des anciens Pays-Bas (avant 1620) au Musée d'art et d'histoire de Genève. Paris: Somogy, 2005. p. 53, fig. 3
    Silva Maroto, Pilar. Juan de Flandes. Salamanca: Caja Duero (Salamanca). Obra Social y Cultural, 2006. p. 149
    Cleveland Museum of Art, David Franklin, and C. Griffith Mann. Treasures from the Cleveland Museum of Art. Cleveland, OH: Cleveland Museum of Art, 2012. pp. 148-9
    Cleveland Museum of Art. The CMA Companion: A Guide to the Cleveland Museum of Art. Cleveland: Cleveland Museum of Art, 2014. Mentioned and reproduced: P. 280
  • Juan de Flandes: The Miraflores Triptych. Museum Mayer Van den Bergh, Antwerp, Belgium (organizer) (September 11-November 7, 2010).
    Jan van Eyck, Early Netherlandish Painting and the South of Europe. Groeningemuseum, Stedelijke Musea, Brugge, Belgium (March 15-June 30, 2002).
  • {{cite web|title=The Birth and Naming of John the Baptist|url=false|author=Juan de Flandes|year=1496–99|access-date=23 July 2024|publisher=Cleveland Museum of Art}}

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