This picture was found on Flickr.com and posted by “Randy OHC”. It is entitled “Salome with the Head of John the Baptist” and was painted by Andrea Solario.
The death of John the Baptist is one of the most disturbing scenes within the entire text. Salome, Herod’s daughter, has danced so beautifully that he swears to give her whatever she would like; even up to half the kingdom. Instead she asks for the head of an innocent man. It is a story about valuing life; and Herod’s family did not value it at all. Years before, Salome’s grandfather, Herod the Great, had ordered that all children under the age of two be killed. Salome’s mother was previously her uncle’s wife. The Herodians had no concern for another, no love of neighbor. In a way they are the extreme of what we can all be.
Standing opposite to them was John and Christ. John baptized people in the wilderness bringing people to repent of their ways. He taught us to examine our own lives and change them for the better – not in a way that was self-serving, as the Herodians had, but self-edifying. It is not surprising, then, that the first major sign of emotion that we see in Christ is his mourning over John’s death. Solario captures this contrast in Salome’s face. At the gruesome sight in front of her she is emotionless, at best curious, but in no way remorseful that she has ended a life on a whim. -- Patrick Darnell