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Feast of Herod

Photo by Peter Paul Geoffrion

Feast of Herod

Artist: Studio of Peter Paul Rubens (Flemish, 1577–1640)
Culture: Netherlandish, Flemish
Date: c. 1635
Medium: Oil on panel
28 1/4 x 41 3/4 inches (71.8 x 106 cm)
Classification: Painting
Credit Line: Gift in honor of Marilyn M. Segal by her children
Label Text:This painting presents part of a story in the New Testament in the Bible of the death of John the Baptist (Mark 6:21-29). At King Herod’s birthday banquet, Salome, the daughter of his wife Herodias, danced for the king. Salome was so pleasing to the king that he swore to grant her whatever she wished. Her mother told her to ask for the head of John the Baptist, who had publically denounced her marriage to Herod as unlawful, since she had been previously married to the king’s brother. In the scene depicted here, King Herod is seated at the far right, and Salome stands before him in a red dress, uncovering the platter that holds John the Baptist’s head. Herodias sits next to him with a fork in her hand reaching toward John the Baptist’s head.

This panel is among a number of copies of a known Peter Paul Rubens painting, now in the Scottish National Gallery. The relationship of these paintings to each other and to Rubens's large and active workshop is complex. Most scholars agree that this work is very close to Rubens, possibly by one of his principal assistants.

Provenance: Possibly Joachim van Sandrart [1606-1688]; possibly by inheritance through his family until 1885. Herman Linde [d. 1909] by 1886. Sir William van Horne [1843-1915], Montreal, by 1910. Purchased April 5, 1990 through (Sotheby's New York, lot 251) by Richard D. Segal; gift 1998 to Duke University Museum of Art, now Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University.
Object number: 1998.22.9