Salome with the Head of John the Baptist

Object Details

Title:

Salome with the Head of John the Baptist

Artist/Maker(s):

Cornelis Engebrechtsz. (Dutch, about 1465 - 1527)

Culture:

Dutch

Place(s):

Netherlands (Place created)

Date:

about 1490

Medium:

Brush and black ink, gray wash, heightened with white gouache on gray prepared paper, the corners cut

Dimensions:

19.8 x 15.6 cm (7 13/16 x 6 1/8 in.)

See more

See less

Salome presents her stepfather King Herod with the head of Saint John the Baptist, while the king offers the saint's tongue to his wife Herodias. Overcome by the beautiful Salome's skill as a dancer, the king had promised to grant her anything she wished. To take revenge on the Baptist, Herodias told her daughter to ask for the saint's head on a platter.

Using a contemporary Renaissance setting, Cornelis Engebrechtsz. placed the king and queen on a raised platform with a dog gnawing a bone at their feet. Both women wear long, flowing dresses with tightly fitted bodices and elaborate headdresses to show their nobility. An ornate salt cellar sits on the table in front of Herodias. Engebrechtsz. conveyed the scene's emotions in the figures' subtle facial expressions: Salome gazes stonily forward at the king and queen, Herod appears displeased, and Herodias hesitates, perhaps drawing back into the corner. The artist used prominent painterly white highlights on the gowns, and his hatching technique imitated contemporary woodcuts. White bodycolor heightening indicates both the lighting and the volume of the forms with quick, fluid strokes.

Exhibitions
Drawings from the J. Paul Getty Museum (May 24 to August 8, 1993) (42)
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art, (New York), May 24 to August 8, 1993
Drawings from the J. Paul Getty Museum (October 29, 1993 to January 23, 1994) (85)
  • Royal Academy of Arts (London), October 29, 1993 to January 23, 1994
Made for Manufacture: Drawings for Sculpture and the Decorative Arts (February 6 to May 20, 2007) (85)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), February 6 to May 20, 2007
Made for Manufacture: Drawings for Sculpture and the Decorative Arts (March 31 to July 5, 2009) (85)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), March 31 to July 5, 2009