One of the most important surviving examples of fourteenth-century painting from Rimini (on Italy’s Adriatic coast), this panel was one of eight scenes depicting the life of Saint John the Baptist from a now-dismembered altarpiece. Riminese painters of the first half of the fourteenth century were indebted to Giotto, who worked in the city in the early years of the century. This dramatic scene unfolds in the palace of King Herod (crowned and seated at the table), who is so enchanted by the dancing of his stepdaughter, Salome (dressed in red and white in the foreground), that he grants her any wish. Prompted by her mother, Queen Herodias, Salome requests the head of Saint John the Baptist, which she presents to her on a platter. Queen Herodias sought revenge against Saint John for criticizing Herod’s marriage to his brother’s wife.


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