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Prints and Drawings
Artist: Pablo Picasso, Spanish, active France, 1881–1973

Salome, from Les saltimbanques (The Acrobats)

1905, printed 1913

Drypoint on Van Gelder vellum

platemark: 40 × 34.8 cm (15 3/4 × 13 11/16 in.)
Gift of Molly and Walter Bareiss, B.S. 1940S
1999.9.13
This print evokes a story from the New Testament in which Salome causes the death of John the Baptist, who had accused Salome’s mother, Herodias, of an adulterous marriage to King Herod. The young Salome seduces King Herod, who promises to give her whatever she wants, and her mother instructs her to ask for the head of John the Baptist. The story was enormously popular among writers and artists in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Picasso’s focus on such a popular theme most likely stemmed from his close friendship with the poet Guillaume Apollinaire, whose own poem “Salomé” was published in 1905. Both painter and poet chose to represent Salome not as the femme fatale typical of past depictions, however, but rather as the expression of pure sexuality and innocent love.
Geography: 
Made in France
Culture: 
Spanish
Period: 
20th century
Classification: 
Works on Paper - Prints
Provenance: 

Acquired by Walter Bareiss in Zurich at age 13 (1933?).

Bibliography: 

Susan Greenberg Fisher et al., Picasso and the Allure of Language, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2009), 17, 32–37, no. 2, ill.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.