Caravaggio 1573 – 1610
The Beheading of St John the Baptist
oil on canvas (361 × 520 cm) — 1607-1608 Museum of St. John, La Valletta
This work is linked to Mark 6:27
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Caravaggio painted this altarpiece while on the island of Malta. It was created for the St John's Cathedral in the capital Valletta.
Salome had ordered the Baptist's head, and in a few moments, she will receive it from the executioner. Her maid looks on in awe. The jailer tells the executioner to put the head on the charger. Two prisoners watch the scene.
The group on the left forms an arch, with Salome and the executioner bending to the floor. This is the only painting Caravaggio signed - in the blood of the Baptist.
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