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Bust of a Youth (Saint John the Baptist?)

Bust of young boy with large eyes and long curly hair, looking to his side.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • Bust of young boy with large eyes and long curly hair, looking to his side.




Francesco Mochi
Italian, 1580-1654

About this artwork

One of the most individual sculptors of his age, Francesco Mochi possessed an astoun- ding technical prowess. Although his output was relatively small, Mochi was one of the most original artists to emerge in seventeenth-century Italy. His art is distinguished by energetic lines, dramatic movement, and subtle psychology. Here a taut precision characterizes the youth’s garment, and a carefully composed rhythm governs Mochi’s virtuoso treatment of the corkscrew curls. In contrast to the greater precision of the hair and drapery, the wistful expression of the youth, with his slightly parted lips, endows the sculpture with life. This work may have been conceived as a portrait, but it is more likely a biblical or mythological subject. The almost transcendent expression suggests that the sculpture may represent a religious figure, such as the youthful Saint John the Baptist. Its small scale suggests that the work was intended as an object for private contemplation.


On View, Gallery 211


Painting and Sculpture of Europe


Francesco Mochi


Bust of a Youth (Saint John the Baptist?)


Italy (Object made in)

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.



Marble, on variegated black marble socle


40.5 × 33 × 29 cm (15 7/8 × 13 × 11 3/8 in.)

Credit Line

From the collection of the estate of Federico Gentili di Giuseppe; purchased with funds provided by Mrs. Harold T. Martin through the Antiquarian Society; Major Acquisitions Centennial Endowment; through prior gift of Arthur Rubloff; European Decorative Arts Purchase Fund

Reference Number


IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

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Extended information about this artwork

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