30 x 30 x 10 cm
High relief depicting the severed head of John the Baptist on a circular tray.
A rather rare subject, only known in the 1500s and 1600’s painting culture. Salome requested John the Baptist’s head, which was offered to her on a tray. See similar representations in Lombard, Spanish and Neapolitan paintings during the Renaissance and Baroque eras.
In sculpture, this theme circulated from Northern Europe. From the XIII century onwards, the relic of John the Baptist’s head was conserved in Amiens’ cathedral, laid on a plate and covered with a silver mask.
A comparison could be drawn between our bronze piece and the one kept at the Palazzo Madama Museum in Turin, which is a masterpiece of goldsmithery and is attributed to a Flemish Renaissance-era workshop. The two items are comparable in the fine chiselling of the haircut and the strong expression shown in the visages.