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- Author Walery Gadomski (1833—1911)
- Date of production 1883
- Dimensions height: 157 cm, length: 48 cm, width: 72 cm
- Author's designation signature and date on the base: W.G. 1883
- ID no. MNK II-rz-83
- Branch The Sukiennice
- Availability The Chełmoński Room
- Object copyright The National Museum in Kraków
- Digital images copyright public domain
- Digitalisation RDW MIC, Małopolska's Virtual Museums project
Salome, the daughter of Herodias and stepdaughter of King Herod Antipas, danced so beautifully that the ruler let her ask for anything she wanted. Her wish, suggested by cruel Herodias, was John the Baptist’s head. Biblical Salome is one of frequent motifs in the iconography of European art. The archetype of a dangerous seductress fascinated artists of all epochs.more
Salome, the daughter of Herodias and stepdaughter of King Herod Antipas, danced so beautifully that the ruler let her ask for anything she wanted. Her wish, suggested by cruel Herodias, was John the Baptist’s head. Biblical Salome is one of frequent motifs in the iconography of European art. The archetype of a dangerous seductress fascinated artists of all epochs.
Walery Gadomski showed a girlish Salome after she finished dancing; she was going downstairs to give her mother a macabre gift on a platter. The girl leant her head back, partly covered with a veil; the gesture expressed an innocence; Salome did not want to look at the result of Herodias’s desire even though she agreed to ask Herod to kill John the Baptist.
The Biblical topic is a pretext for the exotic stylisation of the character. Salome’s dress is full of oriental splendour. The girl is dressed in an ornamentally finished gown; she is wearing earrings, three heavy necklaces, and bracelets on both her wrists. A part of a decoration on the ankle is seen under a thickly draperied dress. The impressive details, expressed with solicitude by the artist, emphasises the erotic aura which emanates from the dancer. Under a thin tunic, the breasts are outlined distinctly. Salome is indeed the personification of destructive female eroticism, so strong that it drove the king to commit a crime.
The work is well inscribed in the Academic style of the art of the 19th century. Fascination with cruelty clothed in an oriental or ancient costume, typical of painters from the Paris Academy (Jean-Léon Gerôme, Paul Baudry), is also present in sculpting (Auguste Clésinger, Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse).
Elaborated by Agata Małodobry (The National Museum in Kraków), © all rights reserved