Wednesday, January 6, 2016

"Dead Head"

6 x 6"
oil on panel

I've always loved this painting by Guido Reni, in the Art Institute of Chicago - 'Salome with the Head of Saint John the Baptist', painted around 1640.  Reni was one of the top-billed, successful artists of the time in Italy and extremely prolific.

I confess, I get most of my bible education from television and movies and I mostly remember in the epic 'Kings of Kings' when Salome does this provocative Dance of the Seven Veils for her stepfather, Herod, then asks him for the head of Saint John the Baptist on a silver platter.  Compare that visual scene to Reni's depiction - Salome is seemingly nonchalant when presented the dead head with no visible blood drippings,  dressed in heavy layers of clothing with her staff looking on.  It's pretty tame.  Probably politically correct for those times.

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