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National Gallery St John the Baptist film series - Episode 9, The Baptist's head


The Baptist's Head The representation of John the Baptist's life doesn't end with his martyrdom. Independent images of his severed head are a particular focus of devotion and became popular both as paintings and as sculpted objects made for the home - a tradition that continues to the present day. In this episode art historian Jennifer Sliwka and theologian Ben Quash look at the National Gallery's masterpiece by Caravaggio, 'Salome receives the Head of John the Baptist', 1607-10 and pay a visit to a private collector who keeps a polychrome sculpted head of the Baptist by Brazilian-born artist Ana Maria Pacheco in his sitting room. 'John the Baptist: From Birth to Beheading' is a series of 10 films sharing the highlights of the collaborative MA course taught by Dr Jennifer Sliwka, Howard and Roberta Ahmanson Fellow in Art and Religion at the National Gallery and Professor Ben Quash, Director of the Centre for Arts and the Sacred, King's College London.

National Gallery John the Baptist Caravaggio Salome Ana Maria Pacheco severed head