Herod's Birthday Feast

Herod's Birthday Feast by Edward Armitage. 1868. 155 x 277 cm. Oil on canvas. Collection: Guildhall Art Gallery, London (no. 587). Presented by the artist, 1894. Reproduced courtesy of the City of London Corporation. [Click on the image to enlarge it.]

Whether or not this the dancer is Salome performing the dance of seven veils in order to secure the beheading of John the Baptist, any image of dancing in the presence of Herod brings to mind the extraordinarily popular fin-de-siecle subject of Salome, the epitome the sexual, destroying woman for the Decadents of the '90s and those influenced by them. This well-covered dancer strikes one as the opposite of the nude woman who appears in Pierre Bonnaud’s Salome or in Oscar Wilde’s play and Beardsley's illustrations for it.

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Representations of Salome

Created 12 February 2015