Salome with the Head of John the Baptist

Salome with the Head of John the Baptist

c. 1650

Nicolaus Knupfer

(Dutch, 1603-1655)

Pen and brown ink, brown washes and white heightening (oxidized), over black chalk on antique laid paper, framing line in brown ink

Sheet: 33.4 x 27.9 cm (13 1/8 x 11 in.)

John L. Severance Fund 2019.8

Fun Fact

The stoic Salome in this drawing awaits the head of John the Baptist so that she can deliver it to King Herod on a salver.

Description

The Utrecht artist Nicolaes Knupfer was known for depicting powerful women who outsmarted or overpowered men. This drawing, probably a study for a painting, depicts the New Testament story of Salome, who was granted a wish by King Herod after dancing for him. Encouraged by her mother, Herodias, Salome asked for the head of John the Baptist, against whom Herodias bore a grudge for objecting to her marriage to the king. The scene shows the theatrical moment after the beheading, when a stoic Salome holds a salver to receive the head.

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