LIPPI, Fra Filippo
(b. 1406, Firenze, d. 1469, Spoleto)
The picture shows one of the scenes from the Stories from the Life of St John the Baptist painted by Filippo Lippi in the choir of the Prato Cathedral.
The biblical source for the painting is Matthew 14:6-11 or Mark 6:21-8, where the daughter of Herodias danced for her stepfather, Herod, on his birthday. As a reward he promised her anything she wanted and, prompted by her mother, she chose the head of Saint John the Baptist, which she then carried to Herodias on a silver charger. The daughter subsequently became known in literature as Salome, and the theme was memorably treated in the nineteenth century by Richard Strauss and Oscar Wilde amongst others.