Artist: Henri Regnault (French, Paris 1843–1871 Buzenval)

Date: 1870

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 63 x 40 1/2 in. (160 x 102.9 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Gift of George F. Baker, 1916

Accession Number: 16.95


Regnault initially represented this Italian model as an African woman, but later enlarged his canvas at the bottom and right and transformed it into a representation of the biblical temptress Salomé. Hair ruffled, clothes in disarray, she has just danced for her stepfather Herod, governor of Judea. The platter and knife allude to her reward: the severed head of John the Baptist. Just months after this picture’s sensational debut at the Salon of 1870, the young Regnault was killed in the Franco-Prussian War. His posthumous fame was such that an outcry arose when the painting left France for America in 1912.