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According to Saint Luke's gospel in the New Testament of the Bible, Saint John the Baptist was the cousin of Jesus Christ and announced Christ's coming. He was imprisoned by Herod Antipas, ruler of Galilee, for speaking out in public against the morality of Herod Antipas's marriage to Herodias, the former wife of his half-brother Herod Philip. Herodias persuaded her daughter (unnamed in the gospel but traditionally called Salome) to ask her step-father and uncle Herod to give her the head of John the Baptist on a platter, which Herod reluctantly did.
oil on canvas
H 116.9 x W 93.5 cm
purchased by Henry S. Wellcome, c.1900–1936