Caravaggio - Beheading of Saint John the Baptist 1608

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Caravaggio - Beheading of Saint John the Baptist 1608

Beheading of Saint John the Baptist 1608
361x520cm oil/canvas
St. Johns Co-Cathedral, Valletta, Malta
The image is only being used for informational and educational purposes

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
The oil on canvas painting is 12 ft (3.7 m) by 17 ft (5.2 m) and prominent are the vivid red and warm yellow colours, common to the Baroque period with the use of chiaroscuro. The image depicts the execution of John the Baptist while nearby Salome stands with a golden platter to receive his head. Another woman, who has been identified as Herodias or simply a bystander who realizes that the execution is wrong, stands by in shock while a jailer issues instructions and the executioner draws his dagger to finish the beheading. The scene, popular with Italian artists in general and with Caravaggio himself, is not directly inspired by the Bible, but rather by the tale as related in the Golden Legend.
It is the only work by Caravaggio to bear the artist's signature, which he placed in red blood spilling from the Baptist's cut throat. There is considerable empty space in the image, but because the canvas is quite large the figures are approximately life-sized.
Caravaggio drew the background for his work from his memories of a prison in the Knights of Malta's penal code. Characteristically of his later paintings, the number of props and the detail in the props used is minimal.