Gerrit van Honthorst
The Beheading of St. John the Baptist

Circa 1510-1515
Oil on canvas
Church of Santa Maria della Scala, Rome

In Mark 6:17-29 John has denounced King Herod for marrying his brother's wife, Herodias. When Herod promises Herodias's daughter Salome "whatever you ask" the mother has her reply, "the head of John the Baptist." In the painting, an executioner is about to behead the prophet while Herodias and Salome look on. Above, an angel reaches down toward the saint's head with the crown of martyrdom.

Read more about images of St. John the Baptist.

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