Salomé by Franz von Stuck

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Salomé by Franz von Stuck-Oil Painting

Painting NameSalomé
Painter NameFranz von Stuck
Completion Date1906
Current LocationPrivate collection

The depiction of the lady Salome in the picture is an infamous character from Greek mythology. She was and is severely criticized for her voluptuous dance against her own step-father Herod Antipas. The incident is notorious among the artist through-out the years and many depiction has been produced on the same theme with weightage giving at variety of points in the story.

In the story, when Salome’s step father Herod pleases by her Dance of the seven Veils, he overwhelmingly gives her boon to demand anything as a prize. She runs to her mother to get guidance about what to ask. He vicious mother Herodias tells her to ask for the head of John The Baptist. Having reluctance to fulfill her demand, the king was bound by the oath to fulfill it. So, he ordered accordingly. The decapitator brought John the Baptist’s head. But later-on the whole blame fall upon her and got scorned by the historians.

Here, Salome seems in a trance of dancing as her wish has been fulfilled. The grim-looking decapitator is very happy to represent John the Baptist’s head to Salome. We can see a halo around the head of the John the Baptist referring to his saintliness. Salome herself is still doing her dance.

Incident with this significant event happened around 2000 years before, right after the time of Jesus’ crucifixion stands with a history by which we understand the past better. Franz Stuck has provided us a visual insight of the incident with his thoughtful composition of the elements and the symbolic portrayal of the characters and elements (artist was a symbolic painter).  His insight about the whole happening and intellectual understanding of portraying the elements with right posture is something to praise.


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