|Courtesy of www.Titian.org|
In this early masterpiece, Titian has portrayed Salome in the company of a handmaid, with the tray on which, according to the Gospel text, Salome delivered the head of John the Baptist to
Herodias. Her red hair falls in languid disarray on her shoulder, as suits the step-daughter of Herod, renowned for her qualities as a dancer, and she bears a dreamy and almost questioning
expression, which does not seem to fit the strong-willed and fearless heroine, Judith, whom some authorities have identified as being the female figure represented in the picture.
The iconographic group of the cut-off head on the dish literally transcribes the Bible story of the death of John the Baptist, as illustrated in another celebrated article by Panofsky (Studies in Iconology, 1939).