The rite of initiation into the christian Church by immersion or sprinkling  with water. It was in regarded historically both as an act of purification and also of rebirth in which the font  was the symbol of the immaculate womb  of the virgin from  which the initiate born again.

Christ  was baptized in the river Jordan by John the baptist  of the  people so many would be present  at the moment when came up out the water  he saw  the heaven  open and the spirit  like a dove descending upon him  and a voice  spoke prom heaven thou art my son, my beloved on the my rests.

The Jordan  was  portrayed in the  antique manner  as a river god with his URN  perhaps holding Christ wearing  a loin  cloth  stands  ankle deep  in the water (in the  river)  the baptist is on the bank in the act of pouring  water  over his head . On the  opposite bank balancing the  composition there are generally two or three angels holding the garments (taking the place of the river god) above  that the figure of god the  father. (head  and sholders, or  perhaps only the hands)  making the sign of  blessing.

The attitdea of  Christ and  baptitst  to  each other   shou ld  be noted. John humbling himself  on his knees reflects his words, I need  rather to be  baptized  by you.

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