Salome with the Head of Saint John the Baptist

Artist: Andrea Solario (Italian, Milan ca. 1465–1524 Milan)

Medium: Oil on wood

Dimensions: 22 1/2 x 18 1/2 in. (57.2 x 47 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: The Friedsam Collection, Bequest of Michael Friedsam, 1931

Accession Number: 32.100.81

Description

This is the finest of several versions of this composition painted by the Milanese artist and may have been painted for a noble patron in France, where Solario worked from about 1507–9. Carried out with incredible attention to detail, the artist achieved a striking effect by contrasting Salome’s idealized beauty and jewels with the horrific view of the Baptist’s head held by the cropped arm of the executioner. The descriptive naturalism of reflections and surface textures is indebted to both Leonardo, who worked for decades in Milan, and Netherlandish painting.

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