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Salome with the Head of Saint John the Baptist

Large painting of woman, in gold and pink dress, placing severed head on platter.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • Large painting of woman, in gold and pink dress, placing severed head on platter.


c. 1639–42


Guido Reni
Italian, 1575-1642

About this artwork

This painting depicts Salome as she receives the head of John the Baptist on a platter, the gruesome reward she chose for having pleased her stepfather, Herod, by performing a seductive dance. This episode from the New Testament had long been popular in Italian art, thanks to its combination of religiosity, violence, and eroticism. The most famous and successful Italian painter of his day, Guido Reni worked in Rome and then in Bologna, where his highly refined style and intensely spiritual subjects dominated. Despite its horrific subject matter, this unfinished work displays the graceful movement, delicate colors, and transparent paint application of Reni’s late style.


On loan to Museo del Prado in Madrid for Guido Reni: The Beauty of the Divine


Painting and Sculpture of Europe


Guido Reni


Salome with the Head of Saint John the Baptist


Italy (Artist's nationality)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Oil on canvas


248.5 × 174 cm (97 3/4 × 68 1/2 in.)

Credit Line

Louise B. and Frank H. Woods Purchase Fund

Reference Number


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Extended information about this artwork

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