Thursday, September 24, 2009

Today in Art

Caravaggio, "Salome with the head of John the Baptist" 1609. Most likely the old woman in the background is Herodias, the mother of Salome. Herodias had urged her daughter to obtain the killing of John the Baptist because he had stated that her marriage to Herod was unlawful. Hence Salome's unquiet look here.
"But she being instructed before by her mother, said: Give me here in a dish the head of John the Baptist. And the king was struck sad: yet because of his oath, and for them that sat with him at table, he commanded it to be given. And he sent, and beheaded John in the prison.

And his head was brought in a dish: and it was given to the damsel, and she brought it to her mother. And his disciples came and took the body, and buried it, and came and told Jesus."
-Matthew 14: 6-11

Caravaggio is known for the deep darkness of his images. Perhaps his most famous image is also a decapitation- 'Judith beheading Holofernes'.


Holly said...

y'know... there's a whole wing of the national art history museum in Vienna that has so many of these (both Salome, and Judith and Holofernes) that a person could get RIGHTOUSLY sick of it.

But the Caravaggio rocks, when you're standing in front of it. As long as you're not one of the freaks who thinks Caravaggio is crap. ;)

Rufus said...

Oh, I could never get sick of it. And, if I could live comfortably in Vienna, the art history museum would just be the cherry on top.