St John the Baptist is shown preaching in the wilderness as the one who prepares the way of the Lord. He wears his typical attributes of garments made from animal skin and a red robe and holding a cross, alluding to the Passion of Christ. The vivid colours of the drapery and the unconventional proportions and poses of the figures place this work firmly in the Italian Mannerist tradition of the cinquecento (1500s). The painting is by Giovanni Balducci, known as il Cosci. Trained by Giovanni Battista Naldini, Balducci also worked with some of the best artists of the Mannerist period, including Giorgio Vasari, Federico Zuccari and Alessandro Allori. He is remembered mostly for religious paintings and frescoes.