Phenomenon - Gustave Moreau. 103 × 142 cm
This painting was painted almost simultaneously with the famous “Salome dancing before Herod” and is, as it were, a continuation of the biblical plot. It depicts the moment when Salome sees the ghostly appearance of the head of the prophet John the Baptist chopped off at her instigation. The vision appears in a blinding light, with its brightness blinding and striking Salome, who in horror tries to shut herself from the radiance by her hand.
The composition of the picture largely repeats the previous canvas, only as if the audience is on the other side. The throne of Herod is no longer in the center of the picture, he shifted to the side. The center now is the radiant head of John the Baptist and the bright half-naked figure to the death of the frightened Salome. The remaining figures seem to have moved here from another canvas.
In a characteristic manner, the artist writes out the rich chambers of the Jewish king and the jewels with which the princess’s outfit is strewn. A lot of attention was paid to the unusually expressive dead face of the prophet with long hair, through which thick, already freezing drops of blood flow down. The radiance surrounding the head is executed in a manner typical of medieval religious painting - with sharp rays arranged in a circle. This aura of holiness tells the criminal that through her fault not only an innocent man was killed, but also a messenger of God.