Reni, in his own way, depicts an episode that is well known to everyone. He created this masterpiece at a time when his work was in full bloom. Christ was baptized, and we see the moment when he has already come out. His head is bowed and his eyes are modestly lowered. All this suggests that he is incredibly submissive.
Most of the canvas is occupied by John the Baptist. If we take the physical plane, then we can say that it is he who dominates this picture.
The color solution is incredibly simple. The painter seeks to emphasize the spirituality of the event that he depicts. In this picture, several plans can be distinguished. In the foreground are John and Christ. On the middle - angels, and on the back - a landscape. Reni uses a special rhythm of a circular nature with the help of gestures and looks of all the characters in this picture. This is necessary so that the attention of the audience was concentrated precisely on the experiences of Christ.
In the process of baptism, a person is purified and reborn. The mystics were sure that this ritual expressed humility. The interpretation of the artist is almost the same. We see Christ who is unconditionally subordinate to the will of God. That is why his back and knees are bent, and his head is bowed. The whole pose speaks of complete submission. The figure is illuminated by the bright rays of the sun, but only from above and to the left. The chest is completely immersed in the shade, but the right hand is magnificently illuminated.
Right behind Jesus is an angel. The gold of his robes become becoming the backdrop for Christ's left hand, which miraculously appears in shadow. In the hands of an angel are the clothes of Jesus. He looks at him very carefully. This position was then repeated by many artists.
The artist skillfully plays with contrasts. Angel's hair is painted in a pleasant golden red tone, which contrasts spectacularly with a cold sky. Reni was a true master who could write the gospel story so soulfully and vividly.
The Death of Pompeii Picture