- The story of the beautiful step daughter of King Herod, Salome, and her wish to kill Saint John the Baptist and have his head on a silver plate is known from the New Testament (Mark 6:17-29 and Matthew 14:3-11). During a birthday banquet of King Herod of Galilee, his step daughter, Salome, danced for everyone. Overcome by her seductive beauty, and Salome's skill as a dancer, King Herod had promised to grant her anything she wished. Salome`s mother, Herodias, to take revenge on Saint John the Baptist, for stating that Herod's marriage to her was unlawful, told her to ask for Saint John the Baptist`s head on a silver plate as a reward. In this painting Salome, probably inside the prison were Saint John the Baptist was arrested, turns her eyes towards a veiled woman, probably Herodias her mother who with the gestures of her hands seems to be justifying her wish. Salome looks away from the head of Saint John the Baptist, as she receives from the executioner the gruesome trophy on the silver plate. Also present are a soldier and an elderly bearded man wearing a turban and an expensive fur coat probably depicting King Herod, displeased and unproud of the whole event.The severed head of Saint John the Baptist forms the centre of attraction along with Salome, as a light coming from the left accentuates the main protagonists. The light also emphasizes the contrast between the 'innocent' girlish face and the brutally severed head.
- Inscription: Signed with initials : A V
- Repository/Location: National Museum of Fine Arts (Valletta, Malta)
- : 122 x 176 cm (without frame)
- Baroque [Create]
- 17th century [Create]
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