The plot of the sermon in Peter Bruegel’s painting “The Preaching of John the Baptist” is uncommonly presented. The action takes place at the edge of a deaf, dark forest. The crowd of people so closely encircled John the Baptist, that there is no more room, so several people climbed the trees.
With both hands, John the Baptist points out into the distance, opening in a narrow gleam between the bare trunks of large trees. If you look closely, then on the river you can see a barely noticeable miniature scene of Christ’s Baptism. And yet the artist concentrated his attention on depicting the behavior of people who came to listen to him.
That’s why some people are given close-ups. Indeed, how differently their feelings are transmitted! On some faces – a print of curiosity, on others – intense attention. One of the spectators even fell, obviously shocked by the words he heard. However, not all listen.
In the thick of the crowd there is a man turned away from the preacher. Who is looking for his anxiously inquisitive look? .. There is an assumption that this is a self-portrait of the artist.