|Title||Execution of St John the Baptist|
|Collection||Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery|
|Artist|| Attributed to Schiavone, Andrea (Italian painter, printmaker, and draftsman, ca. 1500-1563, born in Dalmatia)
Previously attributed to Sustris, Lambert (Italian and Dutch painter, born ca. 1515-after 1560)
|Date Earliest||about 1540|
|Date Latest||about 1563|
|Description||John the Baptist denounced King Herod for his unlawful marriage to Herodias, his brother's widow, and was thrown into prison. During a feast at the palace, Herod's step-daughter Salome, danced so beautifully that Herod offered her any gift she asked. Her mother told her to demand the head of John. Rather than break his word, Herod ordered the execution and his head was presented to Salome on a dish. Here the executioner offers the head to Salome who averts her gaze while, in the distance, the feast continues.
John is seen as the forerunner of Christ. Images of his severed head were once though to have the ability to cure sickness. It was a popular subject in Renaissance art, allowing painters to exploit the contrast between murderous violence and female beauty in the figure of Salome.
|Current Accession Number||1963P9|
|Former Accession Number||P.9´63|
|Subject||religion (St John the Baptist)|
|Measurements||116.9 x 161.2 cm cm (estimate)|
|Material||oil on canvas|
|Acquisition Details||Purchased from P. & D. Colnaghi Co. Ltd 1963.|
|Publications||Foreign Paintings in Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, A Summary Catalogue, 1983, no. 132|
|Notes||Attribution to Lambert Sustris, a Dutch artist active in Venice, suggested by Marco Lucco in 1986.
Drawing which may relate to this painting was sold as by Santi di Tito at Christie's, 14 April 1992, lot 95. The figure of Salome in this drawing is similar in posture, though facing right, costume and billowing drapery behind the figure. A more similar drawing attributed to Schiavone in Richardson, F. L., 'Some Pen Drawings by Andrea Schiavone' in Master Drawings, 14, 1976, p. 32 - 39, pl. 3 (Drawing in the Museo Civico, Bassano, riva 9). The figure of Salome in this drawing is very similar to that in 1963P9. Richardson argues good case for this drawing being by Schiavone.
|Rights Owner||Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery|
|Author||Dr Patricia Smyth|