Jesus takes dead center, and our eyes are drawn to Him first. He is all humility, arms crossed over His chest, head bowed down. Receiving Baptism in perfect obedience, though He never sinned.
John the Baptist stands to the side, his staff a visible separation between himself and God, a reference to his initial rebuttals that he needed to be baptized by Jesus, and his later remarks that he was unworthy to loose Jesus’ sandals.
The only significant part of John that breaks this barrier is his hand that Baptizes with water.
The voice of God, symbolized by the rays, and the descent of the Holy Spirit as a dove, intercept with John’s hand and Jesus’ head. “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” echos through the air.
This whole action is anointed and sanctified by God.
John Baptizes with water, and Jesus will Baptizes with the Holy Spirit.
One of 12 paintings for the Ascension Press program “What We Believe” found here.
As part of the program I worked closely with the team to come up with each composition, and for this one it was a unique challenge as the Baptism is never represented in a square. I took it as a chance to have the Spirit descending from the side instead of from right on top, and I think it balances the scene really well. I knew I wanted Jesus to be perfectly centered so focus would always draw to him first instead of John the Baptist. I love how it worked out.