The Dance at the Court of Herod, c. 1500


Bequest of Herschel V. Jonesexpand_more  P.68.230

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Israhel van Meckenem staged this embellished Gospel story in contemporary, c. 1500, costume. Music and dancing welcome us to festivities at the court of Herod, king of Judea, but there is trouble afoot. John the Baptist had earlier been imprisoned for criticizing Herod for marrying Herodias, who had divorced Herod’s half-brother. During the party, Herodias saw her chance for even greater revenge. When Herod announced his delight with her daughter Salome’s dancing, he offered the girl anything she wanted as a reward. Thrilled, Salome asked Herodias what she should request. Herodias told her to ask for the head of John the Baptist, which she did. True to his word, Herod ordered the execution.

At the upper left, the executioner presents John’s head to Salome, who holds a platter. To the upper right, Salome presents the head to Herodias, who pierce’s John’s tongue with a needle as further punishment for his harsh words.

The Dance at the Court of Herod
Artist Life
c. 1445–1503
Accession Number
Colnaghi; Knoedler & Co.
Catalogue Raisonne
B.9; Holl. 367 ii/iv; NGA 232; L.IX.297.367 Lehrs 327 ii/iv
Curator Approved

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