10/3/12

Henry Ossawa Tanner, Salome

Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington

Date: c. 1900
Technique: Oil on canvas, 116.5 x 89.4 cm

  Salome stands out from Henry Ossawa Tanner's other religious images, which are more conservative than this provocative painting. Salome's demand for the head of John the Baptist is one of the most lurid stories in the Bible. She dances for her stepfather, who rewards her beauty by giving her the prophet’s head on a platter. Here, Tanner presented Salome in a revealing gown, emphasizing her sensuality. The yellow shape in the lower left of the image, marked with red paint, suggests the corpse of John the Baptist.

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