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Salome (John the Baptist)

Romare Bearden; Ives - Sillman Inc.; Cordier & Ekstrom

Artwork Details

Salome (John the Baptist)
Romare Bearden; Ives - Sillman Inc.; Cordier & Ekstrom
screenprint on paper
8 9/16 in x 10 15/16 in (21.7 cm x 27.8 cm)
Gift of the Lannan Foundation in Honor of the Pelham Family

On Display

Not currently on display


Subject Matter:

This print depicts the biblical story of Salome and John the Baptist. Salome was the daughter of Herodias and the step-daughter of Herod Antipas (the ruler of Galilee). John the Baptist (and others) were critical of Herod Antipas' marriage to Herodias; this upset the couple so much that they had John the Baptist imprisoned. Later, after Herod Antipas agreed to give Salome whatever she wanted (in exchange for dancing for him and his guests at a festival), Salome requested John the Baptist's head on a platter. Herod Antipas had John the Baptist beheaded, and Salome presented his head to her mother. Romare Bearden is best know for his collages, and this print has a similar visual effect.

Prevalence of Ritual is a phrase attached to several series of collages and prints by Romare Bearden with a focus on the many facets of African American cultural life and history including spirituality, religion, and community. Bearden was very involved in the Black community and in the Black arts community. In 1963 he helped form the Spiral group, which met in his studio to discuss political issues affecting African Americans. 

Physical Description:

Four people are gathered around a white table in the foreground. A nude woman on the right holds the head of a man on a gray platter. The man's body is in the bottom right corner of the print with a red trail at the neck. Across from the woman is a man in a red garmet with black and yellow stripes, and a tan cap with a red and blue stripe. Across the table are two other figures and in the background to the right stand two men in blue, much smaller than the figures around the table.

Usage Rights:

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