MASOLINO da Panicale
(b. 1383, Panicale, d. 1447, Firenze)

South wall

Baptistery, Castiglione Olona

The scenes depicted on the south wall of the Baptistery are the following: the Feast of Herod (left), Salome Bringing the Head of the Baptist to Herodias (right), and the Burial of the Baptist (in the background.

In the scene of the feast, we see nothing of Salome's veil dance, but rather the moment just after it, when she asks for the head of the Baptist. The three men seated at the table with the king appear dubious, obviously disapproving of her request. The motif of the putti holding garlands in the frieze of the loggia in which the banquet takes place had been introduced into Tuscan sculpture by Jacopo della Quercia at the beginning of the fifteenth century at the tomb of Ilaria del Caretto.

The next scene appears in the right-hand portion of the same picture space. There Herodias sits enthroned in front of a portico stretching back into the distance. Salome kneels in front of her, holding the Baptist's head. Her ladies-in-waiting recoil at the sight in horror.

The last episode in the cycle, the Burial of the Baptist, appears as a tiny distant scene introduced into the landscape of barren mountains that serves as a common background for the two halves of the picture.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.