Folio 212v

« Previous Page Next Page »

Belles Heures of Jean de France, duc de Berry, 1405–1408/9. Herman, Paul, and Jean de Limbourg (Franco-Netherlandish, active in France by 1399–1416). French; Made in Paris. Ink, tempera, and gold leaf on vellum; 9 3/8 x 6 5/8 in. (23.8 x 16.8 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, The Cloisters Collection, 1954 (54.1.1).

Mass for Saint John the Baptist
Salome Presents the Head of John the Baptist at the Banquet of Herod, Folio 212v

The final scene of the John cycle, presented over text written in two columns, is full of drama and varied reactions. Salome calmly kneels as she presents her gruesome offering. Herod looks down in horror, while Herodias recoils a bit, yet nevertheless deftly stabs the head with a knife. Her gesture, represented here for the first time, relates to both the famous relic of the head in Amiens that had a small hole near the left eye socket and to a contemporaneous passion play about Saint John.