The Beheading of St. John the Baptist is Caravaggio's only surviving signed work; the 'f. michelan' which is scrawled in the blood which flows from the Baptist's throat can be read either as 'fra ['frater' or 'brother'] michelan[gelo da Caravaggio]', in which case the work must date from after Caravaggio's appointment as a Knight of Obedience of the . The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist is an oil painting by the Italian artist goodpublications.infoing to Andrea Pomella in Caravaggio: An Artist through Images (), the work is widely considered to be Caravaggio's masterpiece as well as "one of the most important works in Western painting.". Caravaggio depicts Saint John, the baptist of Christ, during his retreat into the desert. But this is not only a portrait of a saint. It is, unmistakably, a nude portrait of a real, living, smiling boy, someone Caravaggio knew well.