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Salome
Sebastiano del Piombo
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A young woman is moving towards an open window or door through which a hilly landscape can be seen. She turns to look back at us over her shoulder, her arm parallel with a stone parapet on which the date 1510 is written. On a metal salver she carries the greyish-green severed head of a man. The woman’s expression is hard to read – her lips are pressed closed but her eyes glint with moisture and emotion. Her identity is not entirely clear – she could be Salome with the head of John the Baptist or Judith with the head of Holofernes.

We do not know who commissioned this painting, which the young Sebastiano painted shortly before he moved permanently to Rome. The atmospheric rendering of the landscape view reveals the influence of his older colleagues Giovanni Bellini and especially Giorgione, with whom Sebastiano appears to have been close.

Key facts
Artist Sebastiano del Piombo
Artist dates about 1485 - 1547
Full title Salome
Date made 1510
Medium and support Oil on wood
Dimensions 54.9 x 44.5 cm
Inscription summary Dated
Acquisition credit Salting Bequest, 1910
Inventory number NG2493
Location in Gallery Room 6
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