The Martyrdom of Saint John the Baptist

Bernard van Orley Netherlandish

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 636

This panel once formed the right wing of an altarpiece dedicated to Saint John the Baptist, the left wing of which is nearby. The biblical texts of Matthew, Mark, and Luke recount the saint’s martyrdom. John was thrown into prison by King Herod for preaching against the ruler’s decision to marry his brother’s wife, Herodias. Scheming with her mother to get rid of John, Salome danced before Herod, demanding his head as a reward. Herod reluctantly agreed, and John’s head was delivered to Salome on a platter.

The Martyrdom of Saint John the Baptist, Bernard van Orley (Netherlandish, Brussels ca. 1492–1541/42 Brussels), Oil on wood

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