Feast of Herod and the Beheading of the Head of John the Baptist - Benozzo Gozzoli. 23.8x34.5
Benozzo Gozzoli, a Florentine Renaissance artist, is known for his beautiful monumental frescoes. The cycle "Procession of the Magi", which has been preserved to this day, performed by the painter for the Palazzo of the Medici family, amazes and surprises the audience with its colorful and rich details. "The Feast of Herod and the Beheading of the Head of John the Baptist" - A rather rare chamber work for a master, a small format, illustrating one of the texts of the New Testament.
John the Baptist, the prophet and harbinger of the coming of Christ, branded Queen Herodias as a libertine and murderer. At the celebration of King Herod’s birthday, Salome, the daughter of Herodias, was captivated by the ruler’s beautiful dance, and he agreed to fulfill her every desire. As a reward for her art, Salome demanded to kill John and deliver his head on a silver platter. The ruler of Judea was shocked by the desire of the stepdaughter, but he kept his promise by ordering the execution of the prophet.
Gozzoli brings the scene of the tragedy to the interiors of the second half of the 15th century, and also dresses the characters in the rich clothes of his modern cut. The artist arranges the composition in such a way that the main moments of the story unfold before the viewer in one picture. The heroine’s dance is given a 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 story: Salome presents John’s head as a gift to his mother.
The pose of the dancing princess is interesting. Despite the gracefully and gracefully set foot, in all its figure, flying, sculptural folds of the dress, hand gesture and proud profile of the head, pressure and strength are felt, which pose a threat to enemies.