Friday, June 16, 2017

The Beheading of St John the Baptist (1618)

The Beheading of St John the Baptist (1618)
Gerard (Gerrit) van Honthorst 1590 – 1656
oil on canvas (350 × 210 cm) — 1618
Mark 6:27 - And immediately the king sent an executioner, and commanded his head to be brought: and he went and beheaded him in the prison,
Herod Antipas, ruler of Galilee, had ordered that the prophet John the Baptist be beheaded. John had been imprisoned because of his criticism of Herod's marriage to Herodias, the wife of Herod's half-brother.

To the left Salome watches the scene. She was Herod's daughter and had asked for the Baptist's head just a few minutes ago, at a banquet.

The victim kneels, praying with his eyes shut. His traditional camel-hair robe is covered by red cloth.

Hovering above the scene is an angel, a messenger of God, symbolizing that John is to be taken to Heaven.

A maid holds a torch that shines light on the key figures.

Van Honthorst painted this large canvas during his long stay in Rome. It still hangs in the church it was made for.
>>>> Death of the Baptist

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