In 1513, Leonardo Da Vinci started the last painting to ever be produced by him, the famous Italian Renaissance man. The piece was entitled St John the Baptist and was an impressive representation of St. John himself. The creation of this piece of art was spread out over two years time, from 1513-1515, and remains as one of the legendary Renaissance artworks.
The subject of this painting, John the Baptist, was a man who baptized Christ and converted many people to Christianity, the popular religion of the Renaissance. He was often asked if he were the Messiah, and he quickly told them he was not but Christ was, making people decide to follow Christianity. John was beheaded by request of King Herodias's daughter as a gift for a dance performance.
Johnâ€™s nakedness and simple brown background, shows how he did not indulge himself in worldly things, and devoted himself to his religion and his teachings. The Renaissance view of an on track religious leader was of one who did not smother himself in luxuries but in the practice of a simple godly lifestyle, and this image portrays John in just that light.
Of the few items in the artwork, the spotlight goes to the cross in the arms of John the Baptist. Though simple, the cross reflects upon Johnâ€™s main purpose in life, which was to serve Godâ€™s word. Another indication of this is the fact that Johnâ€™s finger is pointed upward, cleverly indicating the cross in his hand but also representing heaven and Christ.
Though â€˜John the Baptistâ€™ was the last painting by Da Vinci, it was certainly not his least. Full of representation and meaning, it was part of a collection which became the idolization of all artists then and after, and served as a turning point in the Renaissance art movement.