This painting is part of a diptych; its counterpart showing St Veronica is now in the National Gallery in Washington. Depicted in a landscape setting, John is the first to herald Jesus as the Messiah as he stands on the bank of the Jordan preaching to the people (John 1:29). On the reverse of this panel is a skull and the inscription ‘MORIERIS’ (Thou shalt die); on the reverse of the panel with St Veronica is the poisoned cup from which John drank unscathed. The inscription ‘H. V. D. GOES. / 1472’ was added later in another hand.