It is likely that this work of Caravaggio was one of three paintings that he took with him, departing from Malta to Rome in the hope of obtaining, after a perfect murder, a pardon from Pope Paul V.
The artist intended to present these paintings to his nephew, Cardinal Chipiona Borghese, so that he interceded for the offender before the pontiff. In the Eternal City the painter never returned, having died on the way, but the remaining canvas testifies to the state of mind in which he was in the last years of his life.
St. John the Baptist, who since the Renaissance was often portrayed as not a mature
Caravaggio began with light and happy moods on the mood, then wrote full of passion and sharp drama of work and, finally, came to the imbued with a tragic sense of being pictures that he created at the end of his short life. Creativity of the artist reflected his own way of life.