Alessandro Maganza


Alessandro Maganza (bottiga di), Salome with the Head of John the Baptist, Venetian school, beginning of the seventeenth century, oil on canvas, 66×49 cm.

Herodias, mother of Salome, in violation of Jewish law, marries her second marriage to Herod Antipa. In fact, she had already left wife of Herod Filippo with her daughter the Roman court preferring to this Jewish one.
The Jewish law allowed in fact to marry her husband’s brother in the second marriage only in the event of the death of these or of her sterility.
Precisely the contravention to the aforementioned law was the motivation for conflict between the prophet John the Baptist and the Queen Herodiadus.
On the occasion of the celebrations of the genre of Herod Antipa, the quirky queen arranged that the charming daughter, the sister of the celebrated, performed in a seductive dance of entertainment.
Deluded by the young man’s performance, Herod promised the dancer a gift for any gift, even “half of his kingdom.”
The naughty girl at the suggestion of her mother asked on a silver plate the Baptist’s head. Despite the controversy, the tetrarch agreed to the request.
The biblical story concludes with the retreat from the prophet’s adherent palace while carrying the body of the martyred taken off.