Master of the Life of St. John the Baptist (active )
The Feast of Herod and the Beheading of the Baptist

First half of the 14th century
Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1975.1.103, Lehman Collection

The narrative illustrated here is from Matthew 14. On the left side of the table two women flank Herodias, the queen in her crown. On the right Herod, also crowned, is flanked by two male guests. The painting provides all three of the key moments in the story. In the center foreground Salome does the dance that leads Herod to offer anything she desires. On the left, as she has requested, St. John the Baptist is beheaded. Then, in the left foreground she presents the head to Herodias, her mother (14:11: "And his head was brought in a dish: and it was given to the damsel, and she brought it to her mother."). The queen's companions raise their hands in what may be horror.

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Photographed at the Metropolitan by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.