Salomé, Aubrey Beardsley
F Luis Mora Salome (1899) oil on canvas (72 x 36 inches) Private collection.
Francisco Masriera y Manovens Salome (1888)
Henri Rengault Salome(1870) Oil on canvas (160 x 102.9 cm) Signed, dated, and inscribed (left center): HRegnault [initials in monogram] / Rome 1870 The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Gift of George F. Baker, 1916
Regnault initially represented this Italian model as an African woman, but later enlarged the canvas at the bottom and right and transformed it into a representation of Salomé. She is shown after having danced for her stepfather, Herod Antipas, governor of Judaea. The platter and knife allude to the reward she claimed for her performance: the severed head of John the Baptist.
Regnault was killed during the Franco-Prussian War (1870–71), just months after this picture was exhibited to great acclaim at the Salon of 1870. For years, the painting was considered a masterpiece of contemporary art. In 1912, when it was announced that it would be sold from a private collection, Baron Henri de Rothschild initiated a campaign to keep it in France. He was unsuccessful; Salomé was presented to the Metropolitan by one of the Museum’s trustees in 1916.
Leon Herbo Salome (1889) oil on canvas (151.8 x 106.1 cm) Private collection
In Christian mythology, Salome was the daughter of Herodias and stepdaughter of Herod Antipas, ruler of Galilee in Palestine. Her infamy comes from causing St. John the Baptist’s execution. The saint had condemned the marriage of Herodias and Herod Antipas, as Herodias was the divorced wife of Antipas’s half brother Philip. Incensed, Herod imprisoned John, but feared to have the well-known prophet killed. Herodias, however, was not mollified by John’s incarceration and pressed her daughter Salome to “seduce” her stepfather Herod with a dance, making him promise to give her whatever she wished. At her mother’s behest, Salome thus asked for the head of John the Baptist on a platter. Unwillingly, Herod did her bidding, and Salome brought the platter to her mother.