DANTI, Vincenzo
(b. 1530, Perugia, d. 1576, Perugia)

Beheading of St John the Baptist

1569-71
Bronze, height 243 cm
Baptistry, Florence

During his final years in Florence, Danti returned to bronze sculpture on a monumental scale, completing the Beheading of St John the Baptist group over the south portal of the Baptistery in 1571. This is one of the masterpieces of what can properly be called Mannerist sculpture and combines Danti's virtuosity and inventive mastery of modelling in wax with the restrained statement of volume of his works in marble.

This group marks a high point in Danti's career. The central St John kneels awaiting his martyrdom, while on the right the elegantly poised executioner holds his sword aloft and on the left is Salome, Herod's daughter. Her elongated form and elaborate costume are emphasized at the expense of cruelty and horror in her face.

The bronzes were placed over the southern doors of the Baptistry. The group stood there until the restoration in 2008; then the statues were replaced by copies and the original group is now in the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, Florence.

The photo shows the group in the museum.