Roman Catholicism was a major influence in the development of the arts in New France and later in Quebec. Because much of the art work of Quebec was commissioned by the Roman Catholic Church, the work was religious in nature. Painters depicted scenes from the Bible; carpenters designed elaborate altars and pews; and carvers created wood statues or figurines of Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary, and John the Baptist.
This painted wood carving of John the Baptist has characteristics found in many Quebec religious statues, including mournful eyes, loose-fitting clothing, a limited use of colour, and life-size or larger portrayal. John the Baptist was a very popular subject in Quebec art because he is the patron saint of French Canada.