Pedro Nuñez del Valle, The Beheading of John the Baptist

First half of 17th century
The New Cathedral, Salamanca

The prophet kneels in prayer as the executioner lifts his sword. Instead of the customary camel skin he wears a length of cloth in red, the color of liturgical vestments worn on the feast days of martyrs. At his right knee is a rough wooden staff with something light in color, perhaps the Ecce Agnus Dei banner seen in many of his portraits.

On the left, Herodias counsels her daughter, Salome. The girl averts her eyes and raises her hand as if disclaiming the execution, but it is her shadow that falls on the martyr.

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More of St. John the Baptist

Photographed at the cathedral by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.