This week I have been exploring Christian art related to the dance of the daughter of Herodias (Salome in some traditions) and the beheading of John the Baptist.
In many paintings I found the dancing and beheading scenes were mingled into one. In some cases, in so graphic and erotic a way that there seems little doubt that the artists were seriously toying with necrophilia motifs. I have spared you the worst.
The story is obviously charged with an atmosphere of political corruption, but I think that’s taking artistic licence a wee bit too far don’t you? Even the nakedness (seen left for example) is completely speculative as all the Bible says is, “When the daughter of Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his dinner guests.”
The key theme of the story, the foolishness of Herod and the faithfulness of John, tends to get lost in the titillation.