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Georges Rochegrosse (French, 1859–1929),
Salome Dancing Before King Herod , 1887
oil on canvas, 41 x 65 in.; 104.14 x 165.1 cm
Gift of Francis T. B. Martin, 1953.239

The internationally acclaimed Salon painter Rochegrosse was best known for his Orientalist subjects, which he executed with archaeological accuracy and sumptuous color. Based on first-hand knowledge of Near Eastern architecture and artifacts, which he studied on several visits to Egypt and North Africa, Rochegrosse’s historical genre scenes have a convincing air of reality. Frequently, literary or historical sources serve as pretexts for sensational and titillating images. In Salome Dancing, inspired by the biblical account of the death of St. John the Baptist, minute details of setting and human physiognomy encourage the viewer to share with the painted audience the lithe dancer’s provocative performance.

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