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Photo credit: Glasgow Life Museums

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The dramatically lit character in this painting, set against a plain background confronts us boldly. The lighting, facial expressions and beautifully executed costume and accessories invite close examination of the work, while the prominent head of Saint John invites contemplation of its meaning. Here, the sumptuously overblown and bejewelled dress of Salome is used to indicate the decadence of the people responsible for the death of the innocent, saintly prophet. Salome's glance across the picture space is not triumphant, but thoughtful, as if she herself has just become aware of the potential enormity of her actions. The events that led up to this scene can be found in the Bible in Saint Matthew, chapter 14. Salome's mother married her brother-in-law, the Jewish King Herod, but after John the Baptist condemned this relationship as bigamous the king imprisoned him.






oil on canvas


H 123.1 x W 95.2 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

purchased, 1883

Work type



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Glasgow Museums Resource Centre (GMRC)

200 Woodhead Road, South Nitshill Industrial Estate, Glasgow G53 7NN Scotland

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