In the New Testament, John the Baptist is the forerunner of Christ. He was thus a prominent figure and popular as a patron saint, and the demand for images of him was accordingly high. Blessings were actually performed with the right hand, and not—as in this engraving—with the left. The figure was probably copied from an older depiction, possibly a painting, and the printing process turned it into a mirror image of the original. The print in the Städel Museum is the last remaining impression of this engraving.