Henri Regnault (1843-1871)
Oil on canvas
63 x 40 1/2 inches (160 x 102.9 cm)
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Gift of George F. Baker, 1916 Accession Number: 16.95
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According to the museum website, “Regnault initially represented this Italian model as an African woman, but later enlarged his canvas at the bottom and right and transformed it into a representation of the biblical temptress Salomé. Hair ruffled, clothes in disarray, she has just danced for her stepfather Herod, governor of Judea. The platter and knife allude to her reward: the severed head of John the Baptist. Just months after this picture’s sensational debut at the Salon of 1870, the young Regnault was killed in the Franco-Prussian War. His posthumous fame was such that an outcry arose when the painting left France for America in 1912..”