The Metropolitan Museum of art boasts an impressive collection of art, among many other things. One piece that stood out the most was Saint John the Baptist Preaching, by Mattia Preti. Though the work has seemingly faded a bit over the last 360 years, it remains in superb condition, which leads one to believe it has been restored over time. It is this condition that caught my attention, surprisingly as dull as the piece appears; it stills pops when you make eye contact with it. Why does is pop? What about this work has my attention? My first thoughts were the artist’s ability to capture the human form with the amount of detail Mattia Preti had, was the drawing factor that brought me to choosing this as my focal point on my museum trip. The title is Saint John the Baptist Preaching, yet there are no subjects being preached to in the composition. Saint John is making direct eye contact with you as you are staring at him, which gives the sense of actually being in his presence, and listening to him preach. It seems Mattia Preti wanted the viewers to all feel like they were the ones being preached to from the arrangement of this piece of art. Saint John is situated in the middle of the canvas, slouched and leaning to his left in a sort of lazy posture, with his left hand over his heart. This to me says he is speaking of something in which he truly believes, or loves. Situated below him is a white lamb, which is apparent in many religious paintings, the relevance though escapes me. The human form is captured flawlessly, the artist’s ability to capture proper muscle tone and shape is uncanny, only if for a moment it seems this is a photograph taken in the 16th century. No small detail is over looked, looking closer you can actually see veins in the forearm and hand of the subject.
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