One of the most important surviving examples of fourteenth-century painting from Rimini (on Italy’s Adriatic coast), this panel was one of eight scenes depicting the life of Saint John the Baptist from a now-dismembered altarpiece. Riminese painters of the first half of the fourteenth century were indebted to Giotto, who worked in the city in the early years of the century. This dramatic scene unfolds in the palace of King Herod (crowned and seated at the table), who is so enchanted by the dancing of his stepdaughter, Salome (dressed in red and white in the foreground), that he grants her any wish. Prompted by her mother, Queen Herodias, Salome requests the head of Saint John the Baptist, which she presents to her on a platter. Queen Herodias sought revenge against Saint John for criticizing Herod’s marriage to his brother’s wife. The Lehman panel is one of a series of eight scenes that may have flanked a Madonna and Child (National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.). The others are the Annunciation to Zacharias (private collection), Birth of Saint John and Baptism of Christ (both National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.), Saint John in the Wilderness (Pinacoteca Vaticana), Saint John and the Pharisees (Seattle Art Museum), and Saint John in Limbo (private collection).
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Title:The Feast of Herod and the Beheading of the Baptist
Artist:Giovanni Baronzio (Italian, active in Romagna and the Marches, second quarter 14th century)
Medium:Tempera on wood, gold ground, and silver
Dimensions:17 3/8 x 19 5/8 in. (44.1 x 49.8 cm)
Credit Line:Robert Lehman Collection, 1975
The arms on the reverse are those of Conti Agnelli dei Malherbi, and the panel may have been preserved in the Agnelli collection in Rome or in the Casa Malherbi at Lugo (Ravenna); Galerie Trotti, Paris; Wildenstein, Paris. Acquired by Philip Lehman in January 1921.
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Raimond van Marle. The Development of the Italian Schools of Painting. Vol. 4, The Hague, 1924, p. 298.
Robert Lehman. The Philip Lehman Collection, New York: Paintings. Paris, 1928, Pl. 74
Royal Academy of Arts. Exhibition of Italian Art, 1200-1900. Exh. cat.London, 1930, p. 399.
Lionello Venturi. Pitture italiane in America. Milan, 1931, no. 94.
Emilio Cecchi. The Sienese Painters of the Trecento. New York, 1931, pp. 139, 165, Pl. 251.
Bernhard Berenson. Italian Pictures of the Renaissance. Oxford, 1932, p. 44.
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Cesare Brandi. "Conclusioni su alcuni discussi problemi della pittura riminese del Trecento." Critica d'arte 1 (1935–36), pp. 236-237.
Bernard Berenson. Pitture italiane del Rinascimento: catalogo dei principali artisti e delle loro opere con un indice dei luoghi. Valori plastici, Milan, 1936, p. 38.
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Theodore Allen Heinrich. "The Lehman Collection." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 12 (April 1954), p. 218.
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George Szabó. The Robert Lehman Collection: A Guide. New York, 1975, p. 24, pl. 39.
Fern Rusk Shapley. Catalogue of the Italian Paintings. Washington, 1979, pp. 316-318.
Keith Christiansen. "Fourteenth-Century Italian Altarpieces." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 40 (Summer 1982), pp. 42-45.
Howard Mayer Brown. Imago Musicae II (1985), no. 314.
John Pope-Hennessy assisted by Laurence B. Kanter inThe Robert Lehman Collection. Vol. 1, Italian Paintings. New York, 1987, pp. 86-88, no. 39.
The Life of Christ: Images from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1989.
Peter Thornton. The Italian Renaissance Interior. New York, 1991, p. 50.
Philippe de Montebello. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide. New York, 1994, pp. 349-350.
Katharine Baetjer. European Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art by Artists Born before 1865: A Summary Catalogue. New York, 1995, p. 110.
Daniele Benati. Giovanni Baronzio e la pittura a Rimini nel Trecento. Exh. cat.Milan, 2008, pp. 30-31, fig. 11.
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