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Statuette - The Infant St John the Baptist
  • The Infant St John the Baptist
    Risueño, José, born 1665 - died 1732
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The Infant St John the Baptist

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Granada (made)
    Spain (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1700 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Risueño, José, born 1665 - died 1732 (circle of)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Painted pinewood

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Sculpture, Room 111, The Gilbert Bayes Gallery, case 1

The techniques used in carving in wood and stone were fundamentally the same. First the sculptor carved the rough shape of the piece, a process known as ‘blocking out’. Then, he would work the surface with knives or chisels and abrasives. The figure was generally held horizontally at a workbench and attached to cylindrical shafts, so the sculptor could turn the piece as he carved. Small-scale pieces were generally carved at a workbench.

The downward glance of the Infant St John the Baptist implies that this piece was originally intended to be placed above the viewer. The twisting pose and tenderness of expression suggest it is the work of the Granada sculptor José Risueño. In Spain the surface decoration was further specialised. The work was divided between craftsmen who executed flesh tones, gilding or drapery. This often gave the sculpture an extraordinarily lifelike appearance.

Physical description

Painted pinewood statuette depicting the Infant St John the Baptist grasping a lamb standing on its hind legs to his left side. He half-kneels, resting on his right knee, his body twisted round. He wears a white lambskin shirt, with a red cape over it. The group is on abase painted green, and roughly carved to resemble foliage. A large hole is drilled in the underside of the base, perhaps to contain a dowel. The underside of the base is fully carved and painted.

Place of Origin

Granada (made)
Spain (made)


ca. 1700 (made)


Risueño, José, born 1665 - died 1732 (circle of)

Materials and Techniques

Painted pinewood


Height: 27 cm, Width: 17 cm

Object history note

Bought by John Charles Robinson from the Canon Cepero Collection in Seville, for £7 18s.

Historical context note

The youthful St John the Baptist and lamb was a popular theme in Spanish painting and sculpture throughout the 17th century. It was probably a single devotional piece rather than an element in a larger ensemble.

Descriptive line

Statuette, the Infant St John the Baptist, made in the circle of José Risueno, Spain (Granada) about 1700

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Trusted, Marjorie. Spanish Sculpture. London : Victoria and Albert Museum, 1996. 172 p., ill. ISBN 1851771778.
Inventory of Art Objects Acquired in the Year 1864 In: Inventory of the Objects in the Art Division of the Museum at South Kensington, Arranged According to the Dates of their Acquisition. Vol I. London: Printed by George E. Eyre and William Spottiswoode for H.M.S.O., 1868, p. 71





Subjects depicted



Sculpture; Children & Childhood; Christianity; Religion


Sculpture Collection

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