The picture is created on a religious plot. Herod’s daughter, Herodias, wished to bring the head of John the Baptist on a platter. Her wish was granted. The thing is that John condemned the criminal marriage of Herodias to her uncle. The woman had long wanted to take revenge on him for this. And finally, she had the opportunity.
Kramskoy depicted the moment when the head of the baptist was already brought to Herodias. She looks at her and enjoys the long-awaited victory. The artist was able to draw a libertine as realistic as possible. Herodias is beautiful. Her swarthy face is framed by lush hair, gathered in a spectacular hairstyle. Dark skin and regular features attract the eyes of the audience. She is magnificent, but at the same time her beauty repels her. You can feel her stiffness, which shines through the girl’s look.
At Herodias, a dress of simple style. Kramskoy masterfully depicts the folds of tissue under which the female body is guessed. It seems that the fabric is transparent in places. Through it you can see a magnificent body. The viewer draws in his imagination what cannot be seen. This is the true skill of the artist.
On the right we see the head of John the Baptist. She lies on a dish and is covered with a white cloth. The painter depicts the correct facial features of this person. He is beautiful even now, but this beauty is mournful.
The artist skillfully sets color accents. The background is deliberately darkened. The figure of Herodias and the head of John are highlighted.
It is no coincidence that red prevails in the picture. This is the color of blood. For the sake of the whim of this woman who hated and wanted to get rid of John, a murder was committed. Red reflections fall on her dress and legs. She tarnished herself. Herodias is guilty of human death, and the artist conveys this with the help of paints.
Kramskoy took a religious plot, but his interpretation is somewhat different. For him, human nature is important and what pushes people to kill.
Ingres Artist Paintings