Beheading of John the Baptist

Mattia Preti1661-1666

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

A study for mural decoration around a window, S. Giovanni in Valletta, Malta; Verso a sketch for a ceiling plan. At top left, two women, possibly Salome, holding a platter watching to the right as John the Baptist kneels down while a soldier above him is ready to strike down with a sword. At center at each end two figures are seated holding an end of a garland. Bottom center a doorway with seated soldiers holding shields on either side.

Show lessRead more


  • Title: Beheading of John the Baptist
  • Creator: Mattia Preti
  • Date Created: 1661-1666
  • Inscribed: lower left in pen and brown ink: 26
  • Exhibitions: New York, Finch College Museum of Art, "The Two Sicilies, Drawings from the Cooper-Hewitt Museum", Feb.4-Mar.20, 1970. cat.no.14, repro.Valetta, The Palace, The Museum of St. John's Co-Cathedral, Apr.2-Jul.1,1970; Mattia Preti, XXII Council of Europe Exhibition, "The Order of St.John in Malta" pp.87-88
  • Dimensions: 31.1 x 22.6 cm (12 1/4 x 8 7/8 in.)
  • Bibliography: Naples, Museo di Capodimonte, "Disegni napoletani del sei e del settecento nel Museo di Capodimonte" 1966,p.20Florence, Uffizi, "Cento deisegni napoletani" 1967,.53.
  • Type: Drawing
  • Rights: Museum purchase through gift of various donors and from Eleanor G. Hewitt Fund
  • Medium: Brush and watercolor, black chalk on paper; verso: red chalk on paper