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The Daughter of Herodias Dancing (Hérodiade dansant)

James Tissot

European Art

Although Herod had imprisoned John the Baptist for speaking against his marriage to Herodias, the ruler admired the Baptist as a wise and righteous man.

On the occasion of Herod’s birthday, Salome, the daughter of Herodias, dances before the guests, pleasing the host so much that he promises her anything she wants. Tissot notes that he found inspiration for his image of Salome’s acrobatic dance in ancient reliefs from sources as diverse as Egypt, India, and Persia as well as the reliefs of the Cathedral of Rouen in his native France.

To Herod’s dismay, the young woman, following her mother’s wish, demands the head of John the Baptist on a platter. Although loath to kill the Baptist, Herod reluctantly accedes to this request. In the second image shown here, Tissot adds a further macabre flourish: drawing on a tradition related by Saint Jerome, Herodias pierces the tongue of the dead Baptist as revenge for his rebukes of her profligacy.
MEDIUM Opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper
  • Place Made: France
  • DATES 1886-1896
    DIMENSIONS Image: 9 5/16 x 7 5/16 in. (23.7 x 18.6 cm) Sheet: 9 5/16 x 7 5/16 in. (23.7 x 18.6 cm) Frame: 20 x 15 x 1 1/2 in. (50.8 x 38.1 x 3.8 cm)  (show scale)
    SIGNATURE Signed bottom right: "J.J. Tissot"
    COLLECTIONS European Art
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    ACCESSION NUMBER 00.159.131
    CREDIT LINE Purchased by public subscription
    RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
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    CAPTION James Tissot (French, 1836-1902). The Daughter of Herodias Dancing (Hérodiade dansant), 1886-1896. Opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper, Image: 9 5/16 x 7 5/16 in. (23.7 x 18.6 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Purchased by public subscription, 00.159.131
    IMAGE overall, 00.159.131_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2007
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    RECORD COMPLETENESS Best (88%)
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