Feast of Herold
Sir Peter Paul Rubens 1638
Herodias’ daughter, Salome, had danced so beautifully that Herod had promised to grant her any wish. Prompted by Herodias, Salome asked for the head of John the Baptist. This was Herodias’ revenge for the Baptist’s outspoken criticism of her marriage to Herod. Here Salome presents Saint John the Baptist’s head to King Herod. Herod shrinks back in horror. To his left, Herodias prods the Baptist’s tongue with a fork. Rubens conveys the dramatic moment through the actions and expressions of his larger than life size figures, his rich colours and bold contrasts of light and shadow.
The Origin of Painting
David Allen 1775
ere, Allan has chosen to illustrate a charming anecdote by the ancient Roman author Pliny, claiming that the art of painting had first been invented by a Corinthian girl who traced the outline of her lover’s shadow on the wall before he went into battle.