Artworks
Salome with the Head of John the Baptist
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gstecyk's picture

Contributor

Solome is barely mentioned in the Bible, but that didn’t stop artists and writers from filling in what the Good Book left out.  

For your entertainment, we have compiled the spiciest elements of each variation into one salacious account. This story is basically Hamlet meets Showgirls.

At the dawn of Christianity, Queen Herodias divorces her husband and marries his brother, King Herod.  The holy man John the Baptist publicly denounces her for adultery and incest.  Meanwhile, Herodias’ psychotic daughter develops an unhealthy obsession with the holy man, who spurns her sexual advances.  She vows revenge, and chooses a questionable method of putting the incest rumors to rest; by doing a striptease for her stepdaddy on his birthday.  He offers her anything in his kingdom as reward, but she asks only for the head of the Baptist on a silver platter.  When the head is brought to her, she kisses its cold, dead lips.

Lucas Cranach the Elder either really liked controversial women, or had a decapitation fetish.  He was particularly fond of the theme of Salome with the head of John the Baptist, painting it numerous times.  It became something of a trend for German noblewomen to pose as Salome, which may account for why Cranach was so prolific with this theme, and why Salome always appears in contemporary Saxon court dress.  He typically painted her as a fiery redhead or luscious blonde in crimson or green velvet, but here we have a demure brunette in subdued black.

Salome has exchanged her seven veils for a more wholesome look.  Her bodice and necklace are nicely-coordinated and her belt complements both.  Her dress looks like it might have been the 1510 equivalent of a Chanel, and she has a nice conservative stole.  She has opted to leave her earrings in her jewelry box, and applied only a modest amount of blush and no eye shadow, for a natural girl next door look...albeit a natural girl next door carrying a human head on a platter.  Coco Chanel said always to take off the last accessory you put on. Perhaps Salome should have left the head behind with her earrings.