Inventory number
Strobel “the Younger”, Bartholomäus
The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist and the Banquet of Herod
1630 - 1633
280 cm x 952 cm
On display
Royal Collection (Collection of the Bishop of Wroclaw, Palace of Nysa, Poland, 1630-1633?; Collection of Isabel Farnesio, Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso, Segovia, “salón donde comían sus majestades”, 1746, n. 761; La Granja Palace, “cuarta pieza de azulejos”, 1766, n. 761; Royal Palace of Aranjuez, Madrid, “pieza de cenar”, 1794, n. 761; Aranjuez Palace, “sala de corte del rey”, 1818, n. 761)

This work depicts the martyrdom of Saint John the Baptist due to the perfidy of Salome, who asked for his head after seducing King Herod with her dancing.

Strobel, a painter of Polish origin, tells the story on an enormous stage that represents to moment of the martyrdom on the far right, where we can see the saint's decapitated body. On the other side of the large column, the figure of Salome shows a platter with John's head to Herod, who is terrified. The rest of the painting to the left shows the banquet, which the painter depicts with innumerable figures, in the manner of a court celebration. The left end of the painting includes various portraits of contemporaneous figures, including Emperor Fernando II and Imperial General Wallenstein.

The figures' strong expressionism and the singularity of this highly horizontal composition are this work's salient characteristics. As is a taste for precisely rendered details, sumptuousness, and a use of light that was customary in the works of this artist.

In 1746, this work was in Queen Isabel Farnesio's collection at La Granja Palace.

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