The Martyrdom of Saint John the Baptist

Bernard van Orley Netherlandish

Not on view

This panel once formed the right wing of an altarpiece dedicated to Saint John the Baptist, the left wing of which is nearby. Recounted in biblical texts of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, this pendant shows the martyrdom of the saint. John had been thrown into prison by King Herod for preaching against the latter’s decision to marry his brother’s wife, Herodias. Scheming with her mother to get rid of John, Salome danced seductively before Herod, thereafter demanding the head of John the Baptist as a reward. Herod reluctantly agreed, and the head of Saint John 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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