Cranach - Salome with the head of St John the Baptist at Herodes table
Salome with the head of St John the Baptist at Herodes table
Lucas Cranach the Younger
Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden
17.09.2019 - 10:37
Choose objects with for comparison
Painting:
CDA ID / Inventory NumberDE_SKD_GG1923
Persistent Linkhttp://lucascranach.org/DE_SKD_GG1923
FR (1978) No.FR-none
Title:
Salome with the head of St John the Baptist at Herodes table[Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, 2011]
Attribution:
Lucas Cranach the Younger [Exhib. Cat. Gotha 2015, No. 65] [Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, 2011] [Exhib. Cat. Chemnitz 2005, 297] [Koepplin, Exhib. Cat. Basel 1974, 572][1] [Waagen 1958, 38, 39][1] [1] [Exhib. Cat. Chemnitz 2005, 298, 301]
Lucas Cranach the Elder [Matthäi, cat. Dresden 1835, No. 144][1] [1] [Exhib. Cat. Chemnitz 2005, 298, 301]
Workshop Lucas Cranach the Elder [Schäfer, Cat. Dresden 1860, 909][1] [Schuchardt 1851 A, Bd. 2, 43][1] [1] [Exhib. Cat. Chemnitz 2005, 298, 301]
Hide content...
Dating:
1537[dated]
Owner / Repository / Location:
OwnerStaatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden
RepositoryStaatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden
LocationDresden
Dimensions:
Dimensions of support: 82.5 x 121 x 1.4 cm [Exhib. Cat. Chemnitz 2005, 297]
Support:
Painting on beech wood [Exhib. Cat. Chemnitz 2005, 297] [Klein, Report 2004]
Signature / Date:
Artist's insignia top right: winged serpent with dropped wings and dated '1537'
Inscriptions, Marks, Labels, Seals:
Reverse of the panel: [Gal.-Nr., repeatedly]; Sammlungsnachweis Pillnitz (repeatedly): 'Inv. 41.'; in white chalk, symbol: 'O'; in blue chalk: '-106'; in blue ink on a paper label: '30 Kr 336, 35 Kr 192 mAs 20.11 33 Inst. f. Denkmalpflege Halle' [Schlegel 2003, 76][1] [1][Schlegel, Exhib. Cat. Chemnitz 2005, 297]
Description:
The macabre climax of the festivities to celebrate King Herodes' birthday is the moment when Salome presents the decapitated head of St John the Baptist to her stepfather on a pewter plate. Cranach dramatically intensifies the gruesome scene in his depiction, as the biblical text recounting the martyrdom (Mt 14, 1-12 and Mk 6, 21-29) only records the unnamed Salome showing the head to her mother (Gotha, Inv Nr. SG303). Embellishment of the scene to include the stepfather and other additional details allowed Cranach to deploy his narrative skills. The compositional inspiration for this painting can be found in a woodcut by the netherlandish artist Lucas van Leyden, which was created about 1513/14.[1] Cranach divided the image into different sections. Grouped around the decapitated head are the people who were directly involved in the event: Herodes, Herodias and Salome. As the protagonist Salome stands in the foreground of the painting. Whereas the king is shown expressing resistance or shock, his wife Herodias appears emotionally impassive. Salome's facial expression on the other hand with its slightly open eyes and open mouth is particularly devious. The Baptist's head shown distorted with pain is masterfully positioned within the composition. At once the viewer takes in the ruptured eyes and the bloody wound on the neck of the decapitated head, which illustrate the entire horror of the event in a most gruesome and realistic manner. The protagonists are surrounded by unconcerned observers. One of the servants carries a bowl with fruit, which in size and appearance is similar to the plate with the decapitated head and as such underlines the macabre presentation on the table. The man on the left holding the hilt of his sword is a reference to the preceding order to behead St John. [1] Lucas van Leyden, 'Herodes' Feast', woodcut, British Museum, London. [Exhib. Cat. Gotha/Kassel 2015, 220]
Provenance:
- 1657 entered the Kunstkammer (Elector Johann Georg II)
[Sächs, HStADD, Akten der Generaldirektion der königlichen Sammlungen, Cap. X a, Nr. 36][1]

- inventory of the Kunstkammer 1741
[Sächs, HStADD, 13458 SKD, Inventar Nr. 11][2]

- [Matthäi, Cat. Dresden 1835, No. 144][2]

- 1945 war loss, parts in:
[Forschungsarchiv SKD, Nachlass Hans Posse ?][2]

[1][Exhib. Cat. Chemnitz 2005, 298]
[2][Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, 2011]
Exhibitions:
Dresden 1937, 15
Weimar, Wittenberg 1953, No. 66
Weimar 1972, No. 60
Basel 1974, 572
Torgau 2004, Bd. 1, No. 217
Chemnitz 2005, No. 16
Gotha/Kassel 2015, No. 65 (only in Gotha)
Sources / Publications:
Reference on PageCatalogue NumberFigure/Plate
Cat. Coburg 2018202, fn. 12under no. 44
Maaz 201066, 67
Exhib. Cat. Chemnitz 2005232, 296-30116Pl. p. 296/297
Kolb 2005 C531, 541-548, 550, 551, 553, 555-55716
Exhib. Cat. Torgau 2004No. 217
Schlegel 200376
Cat. Weimar 199255, 56No. 17
Exhib. Cat. Basel 1974572
Exhib. Cat. Weimar 1972 BNo. 60
Exhib. Cat. Dresden 193715
Flechsig 1900 AIV
Lindau 1883288
Schäfer 1860909
Waagen 185838, 39
Cat. Dresden 1835No. 144 (Bd. 1)
Interpretation / History / Discussion:
The painting belongs to a group of paintings now in Dresden all illustrating the subject of the 'Weibermacht'. They were originally part of a painting cycle commissioned from Cranach by Elector Johann Friedrich for Hartenfels castle in Torgau [DE_SKD_GG1929]. [1]

[1] Exhib. Cat. Chemnitz 2005, 301
[Exhib. Cat. Gotha/Kassel 2015, 220]
Material / Technique:
  • Date: 19.09.2012
  • Technical examination / Scientific analysis
  • Infrared reflectography
  • Lucas Cranach the Younger - Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden - Salome with the head of St John the Baptist at Herodes table - Infrared Images
  • Underdrawing
  • Results
    Drawing material:
    - fluid (brush)

    Technique:
    - A few lines are visible, that cannot with certainty be interpreted as underdrawing: in the folds of the robe worn by the man standing on the far right, at the bottom of the folds on Salome’s sleeve, on the back of the neck of the second man from the left [1]
    [1][Schölzel, Exhib. Cat. Chemnitz 2005, 297]
    [Böhme, Schölzel, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, 2012]
    • photographed by: Alexandra Böhme
    • photographed by: Christoph Schölzel
    • Date: 2005
    • Technical examination / Scientific analysis
    • Infrared reflectography
    • Framing
    • - new frame: gilded frame in the style of the Dresden gallery frames of the 18th and 19th centuries

      [Schölzel, Exhib. Cat. Chemnitz 2005, 297]
    • Underdrawing
    • A few lines are visible, that cannot with certainty be interpreted as underdrawing: in the folds of the robe worn by the man standing on the far right, at the bottom of the folds on Salome’s sleeve, on the back of the neck of the second man from the left
        • Date: 23.02.2004
        • Scientific analysis
        • Identification of wood species / Dendrochronology
        • Support

        • The most recent annual ring can be dated to 1531

          [Exhib. Cat. Chemnitz 2005, 301]
          • analysed by: Peter Klein
          • Date: 2003
          • Technical examination / Scientific analysis
          • Lucas Cranach the Younger - Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden - Salome with the head of St John the Baptist at Herodes table - Reverse
          • Support
          • - beech wood
            - 1.4 cm thick
            - original surface on the reverse
            - five horizontal planks
            - split marks
            - plane marks
            - rebate running around the edge
            - joins reinforced with tow

            [Schlegel 2003, 76-78][1]
            [1][Schlegel, Exhib. Cat. Chemnitz 2005, 297]
              Condition Reports:
              • Date: 2003
              • Support: - wooden blocks in the rebate were employed to fix the panel in a frame - the panel exhibits a convex warp on the front - woodworm damage (exit holes) Painted surface: - small retouches on old paint losses in the robe and hat of the man on the left and along the edges - abrasion and some paint loss along the edges of the craquelée, particularly in the bearded man on the right and the womanon the left, whose head is cropped - glossy, thin varnish [Schlegel 2003, 76][1] [Schlegel, Schölzel, Exhib. Cat. Chemnitz 2005, 297]
                History of Restoration:
                • Date: 2004
                • - in preparation for an exhibition in Torgau (frame) see pdf
                  • Date: 1971
                  • [GGAM, Abt. Restaurierung, Meldung] [1][Schölzel, Exhib. Cat. Chemnitz 2005, 297] see also pdf
                    • Date: 1955
                    • [GGAM, Abt. Restaurierung, sowjetischer Gemäldepass][1] [1][Schölzel, Exhib. Cat. Chemnitz 2005, 297]
                      • Date: 1918
                      • [Sächs,HStADD, 13458 SKD, GG Nr. 8, Bd. 14, Bl. 248, 249][1] [1][Schölzel, Exhib. Cat. Chemnitz 2005, 297]