The New Testament records how Saint John the Baptist was beheaded at Herodias' request, and his head presented to her daughter Salome on a charger. Salome then brought the head to her mother. (Matthew 14: 1-11). This painting is one of the key works of Sebastiano's early years in Venice, painted shortly before he left for Rome. The influence of Titian and the young Giorgione can be observed.


  • Title: Salome
  • Creator: Sebastiano del Piombo
  • Date Created: 1510
  • Physical Dimensions: 54.9 x 44.5 cm
  • Type: Painting
  • Medium: Oil on wood
  • School: Italian
  • More Info: Explore the National Gallery’s paintings online
  • Inventory number: NG2493
  • Artist Dates: about 1485 - 1547
  • Artist Biography: Venetian-born and trained, perhaps by Giorgione, Sebastiano moved in 1511 to Rome, where he became a major portraitist and painter of religious subjects. He was a protégé of Michelangelo, who significantly influenced his art. His late style could be dark and sombre, and his figures have an almost clumsy force. Sebastiano's early Venetian works resemble those by Giorgione. The Pope's banker, Agostino Chigi, one of the great patrons of the time, recognised his talent and brought him to Rome, where he also painted for patrons such as Pierfrancesco Borgherini. It was in Rome that Sebastiano became one of the rare friends of Michelangelo, and was drawn into his rivalry with Raphael. This culminated in Michelangelo providing designs for Sebastiano's 'Raising of Lazarus', in an effort to outshine its direct competitor, Raphael's 'Transfiguration'. After Raphael's death, Sebastiano was the foremost painter in Rome and the first artist to return there (from Venice in 1529) after the 1527 Sack of Rome. The Pope rewarded his service by making him Keeper of the Papal Seal (hence his name the Piombo).
  • Acquisition Credit: Salting Bequest, 1910

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