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Saint John the Baptist Preaching in the Desert

A work made of oil on canvas.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of oil on canvas.




Jean Baptiste Henri Deshays
French, 1729-1765

About this artwork

A precocious talent, Jean-Baptiste Deshays married the daughter of Rococo artist François Boucher and became his protégé. Although best known as a painter of religious subjects, Deshays often employed the soft, highly fluid manner that Boucher used for his amorous “boudoir” pictures. In fact, this work was for a long time believed to be by Boucher. The subject of the painting derives from the Gospel of Matthew: seated before the multitude and with arms dramatically outstretched, John the Baptist warns, “Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”


On View, Gallery 216


Painting and Sculpture of Europe


Jean Baptiste Henri Deshays


Saint John the Baptist Preaching in the Desert


France (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Oil on canvas


42.2 × 26.5 cm (16 5/8 × 10 7/16 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Mrs. Eugene A. Davidson

Reference Number


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