This work, of course, is the greatest work of the Caravaggio of the late period. At the same time it looks the most disturbing. The image is filled with power, on it we see the same dark background familiar to us in other works of the artist, as well as the theme of violence. As always, we do not see any positive moments in the situation in the picture. Evil again goes unpunished.
Figures are depicted in full size to create a sense of the reality of what is happening, to set the necessary dramatic effect. As already noted, the execution of John the Baptist is a dark picture. This, of course, is a masterpiece of the late period of Caravaggio’s work.
The truncation of the head of John the Baptist depicts St. John, his executioner, a soldier, Salome with a golden dish and an old woman. Interpretation of the latter is different among art historians. Some believe that it’s Herodias, others suggest that it’s just an observer who personifies the viewer, thereby violating the “fourth” wall.
In the right corner of the picture are two prisoners who are doing everything possible to see what is happening on the street. The atmosphere of action is so terrible that people of this kind are drawn to at least look at this event.