The Feast of Herod [Peter Paul Rubens]

Rivaat Zarlif

Contributor

The Bible is full of horrors. Freddie Krueger, Jason, and all their Hollywood producers could learn a thing or two from it and Peter Paul Rubens.

Here we have bug-eyed Herod, king of the southern part of Palestine’s West Bank, that arid and mountainous piece of land also known in the bible as Judea. His left hand grips a napkin as he’s confronted with a Silence of the Lambs style dinner.

This is the same Herod who wanted Jesus dead to avoid any possible challenge to his rule. The historical Herod, ruler of Judea for 30 odd years mostly before Christ was born had at least one of his wives and two sons killed, among other minor atrocities.

On his birthday, Herod told his stepdaughter she could have anything she wanted. She asked for the head of John the Baptist, who happened to be downstairs in the dungeons for criticizing Herod's marriage to her mom, Herodias. The stepdaughter gets her way. In the painting Herod’s immaculately pale wife has the look of blissful satisfaction as she’s about to spear the tongue with her fork. Vindictive is an understatement.

The Feast of Herod [Peter Paul Rubens] is mentioned on Sartle Blog -