Salome receives the Head of John the Baptist

When Saint John the Baptist was imprisoned by King Herod, Herodias, wife of Herod, persuaded her daughter, Salome, to ask for the Baptist's head on a charger (Mark 6: 17-28).

In this candlelit scene, which shows the influence of Caravaggio and his followers, the bearded and powerfully muscled executioner holds up the saint's head, while Salome, seen in strict classical profile, proffers the plate on which it is to be placed. This is an early work, probably painted in Rome some time in the 1630s. It was copied by the English painter William Dobson in about 1640 (Liverpool, Walker Art Gallery).

Key facts

Artist dates
about 1600 - after 1652?
Full title
Salome receives the Head of John the Baptist
Date made
probably about 1630-2
Medium and support
Oil on canvas
109.2 x 155.7 cm
Acquisition credit
Presented by the Trustees of Sir Denis Mahon's Charitable Trust through the Art Fund, 2013
Inventory number
Location in Gallery