The Execution of Saint John the Baptist

The Execution of Saint John the Baptist

Ubaldo Gandolfi (1728–1781)

Oil on canvas

c. 1770

24 × 16 1/2 in. (61 × 41.9 cm)

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (accession Number: 2014.566)

Purchase, Friends of European Paintings Gifts, 2014

“This work, by one of the leading painters of eighteenth-century Bologna, is an oil sketch (modello) for a major altarpiece in the church of San Michele, Vercelli, midway between Milan and Turin. Ubaldo Gandolfi has endowed the scene with a visionary quality, as angels appear to the saint. Especially effective is the contrast between the executioner rolling up his sleeve and the prayerful attitude of the saint. In the left background is Salome, who as a reward for her dancing had requested King Herod that Saint John’s head be brought to her on a silver platter.” — museum website

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