A handsome couple

A 16th century German painting of Salomé holding a platter with the head of John the Baptist. Painted by Lucas Cranach the Elder in 1530.

Notice how both characters are looking at the spectator. Salome is appropriately dressed as a noble woman (though typically anachronistically so). And John is opening his mouth as well as his eyes. In ecstasy? Or to allow his last breath to escape? I guess since his neck is “open”, he might as well open all orifices he has left.

The platter seems like an oversized common kitchen plate. I wonder if anyone ever made the association with food when Salome requests the head on a platter. Like the spider eating its mate. And instead of saying “I have kissed thy mouth, Jokanaan”, she’d say “And I will eat you!”. Little Red Ridinghood popping up again? What’s up with that?

She is holding him like a lover, not like a dish. And the red of her mouth easily leads the eye to the red on his neck. It’s cute how they look at us. Like a couple caught doing something they didn’t want others to witness.

She has an awfully large necklace. I wonder if she fears decapitation herself…

5 thoughts on “A handsome couple”

  1. Thanks for posting this peripheral content and analyzing it. It’s like having a good friend come over for a bit to talk about art. I can’t wait to see what you’ve been doing lately in your software.

  2. “If you gave me your head, It’d make me oh so happy. From a silver platter, I will eat you!”

    How long have you been researching Salome, again?

  3. I’m not sure what is more anachronistical: the clothing or the model of sensual beauty from Cranach’s time. What a terribly large forehead; and look how far apart from each other are her eyes. I’ve never liked this painting to be honest as impressive as Cranach’s technique might be – yet the painting does have its share of interesting details, I admit! 😉

Comments are closed.