About this artwork
This painting depicts Salome as she receives the head of John the Baptist on a platter, the gruesome reward she chose for having pleased her stepfather, Herod, by performing a seductive dance. This episode from the New Testament had long been popular in Italian art, thanks to its combination of religiosity, violence, and eroticism. The most famous and successful Italian painter of his day, Guido Reni worked in Rome and then in Bologna, where his highly refined style and intensely spiritual subjects dominated. Despite its horrific subject matter, this unfinished work displays the graceful movement, delicate colors, and transparent paint application of Reni’s late style.
- Guido Reni
- Salome with the Head of Saint John the Baptist
- Oil on canvas
- 248.5 × 174 cm (97 3/4 × 68 1/2 in.)
- Louise B. and Frank H. Woods Purchase Fund