Salome with the Head of John the Baptist

Gustave Moreau French

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 556

According to Biblical sources, Salome agreed to dance before her father, Herod II, King of Judea, in exchange for receiving the severed head of John the Baptist. Moreau treated the subject some fifteen times in oil. The majority of these paintings focus on the dramatic apparition of the head during the dance or its presentation afterward, but the seductress here appears almost innocent, stretching her body and gaze away from the bloody head, which glows with a holy light.

Salome with the Head of John the Baptist, Gustave Moreau (French, Paris 1826–1898 Paris), Oil on wood

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