The Feast of Herod and the Beheading of John the Baptist by Benozzo Gozzoli

The Feast of Herod and the Beheading of John the Baptist by Benozzo Gozzoli

Benozzo Gozzoli, a Florentine Renaissance painter, is known for his beautiful monumental frescoes. The cycle “The Procession of the Magi”, preserved by the painter for the Palazzo of the Medici Family, is still amazing to the audience with its colorful and rich details.

“The Feast of Herod and the truncation of the head of John the Baptist” is a rather rare piece for the master of the chamber, illustrating one of the texts of the New Testament. John the Baptist, the prophet and forerunner of the coming of Christ, branded the queen Herodias as a libertine and murderer.

At the

celebration of the birthday of King Herod Salome, daughter of Herodias, captivated by a beautiful dancer’s dance, and he agreed to fulfill any of her wishes. As a reward for her art, Salome wanted to kill John and deliver his head on a silver platter. The ruler of Judea was shocked by the desire of the stepdaughter, but fulfilled the promise, ordering the execution of the prophet. Gozzoli transfers the scene of the tragedy to the interiors of the second half of the 15th century, and also dresses the characters in the rich clothing of his contemporary cut.

The artist has the composition in such a way that the main moments of the story unfold in front of the viewer in one picture. The heroine’s dance is given the central place, in the left corner of the canvas – the continuation of the plot: the execution takes place, in the background – the last element of the narrative: Salome presents John’s head as a gift to his mother.

Interesting posture of the dancing princess. Despite the gracefully and gracefully taken away leg, in all its figure, the flying, sculptural folds of the dress, the gesture of the hand and the proud profile of the head, there are pressure and strength that threaten enemies.

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