The National Museum of Western Art

update 28 May 2019

on display Permanent collection

Tiziano Vecellio, called Titian and workshop [Pieve di Cadore, ca. 1485/90 (?) - Venice, 1576]

Salome with the Head of St. John the Baptist

Datec. 1560-70
Materials/Techniquesoil on canvas
Size (cm)90 x 83.3
Standard ref.Humfrey 256
Collection NumberP.2011-0002
Salome with the Head of St. John the Baptist

This is a late work by Titian, master painter of the Italian Renaissance. Although parts of it were started by his workshop, the hand of Titian is evident in the subject's vividly colored costume and jewelry. The same is true of Salome's right arm and the neck of the maid, which X-ray examination has shown to be extensively over-painted. The work refers to an episode described in the New Testament in which Salome displays the head of John the Baptist, the reward she sought for dancing at a banquet for her father King Herod. (Source: Gallery label, July 2016)


King Charles I of England (1600-1649), Hampton Court, by 1649; Intended for the Commonwealth sale 1649-51, but reserved for Oliver Cromwell and probably thereafter kept at Hampton Court or Whitehall; Recovered after the Restoration in 1660 for Charles II of England (1630-1685) and certainly at Whitehall by 1666; In the collection of William III, King of England, at Kensington Palace by 1697; In the Queen's Gallery at Windsor Castle by circa 1705-10; In the Great Drawing Room, Kensington Palace by 1732 and within the Royal collection until some time after 1736 (but not recorded in a 1785-90 inventory); Col. W. Pollok-Morris C.M.G., D.S.O. (1867–1936) of Craig, Kilmarnock, Scotland, by 1913 and recorded in an inventory of his belongings at Craig drawn up in July 1928; By descent to Mrs Ellison J. Dickson, Knowlton, Ayr, Scotland, by whom loaned to The National Trust, Culzean Castle, Ayrshire by 1965, and recorded in an inventory of her collection at Knowlton drawn up in October that year; By family descent until sold ("The Property of a Gentleman"), London, Christie's, 9 December 1994, lot 348, as Studio of Titian, where bought by Colnaghi; From whom acquired by Luigi Koelliker, London; New York, Sotheby's, 29 January 2009, lot 33; From Koelliker acquired by a collector in England, Purchased by the NMWA, 2012.

Exhibition History

The Age of Titian: Venetian Renaissance Art from Scottish Collections, Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh, 5 August 2004 - 5 December 2004, cat. no. 65, col. repr.
Der späte Tizian und die Sinnlichkeit der Malerei, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Wien, 18 October 2007 - 6 January 2008, cat. no. 3.17, repr.
Voices Calling from the Unusual: Hirano Keiichiro's Selection of Western Art Masterpieces, National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, 8 April 2014 - 15 June 2014, cat. no. 20
Titian and the Renaissance in Venice: 150th Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations between Japan and Italy, Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, 21 January 2017 - 2 April 2017, cat. no. 41, col. repr.
Rubens and the Birth of the Baroque, The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, 16 October 2018 - 20 January 2019, cat. no. 19


Probably Inventory of Pictures Belonging to Bartolomeo della Nave. no. 15, "A Judith Pal 4 & 3 with a woman with a vaile over her head and a more page with the head of olifernes of Titian it may be Herod's daughter…150".
Possibly Colonel William Hawley's Inventory of 1660-1 of Goods Recoverd for the Crown, as either no. 37: "A herodias wth ye: St John Bapt: Head in a platter being an Italian peace," or more likeky no. 55: "A Harodias with a John Baptist head in A platter and her maide by her".
Inventory of Charles II's Pictures etc., at Whitehall and Hampton Court. circa 1666-7, p. 43, no. 470, in store at Whitehall
Inventory of James II's Pictures etc., at Whitehall, Windsor, Hampton Court and in the Custody of the Queen Dowager, Catherine Braganza, Somerset House. 1688, no. 358, at Whitehall
Inventory of William III's Pictures etc., at Kensington, 1697 and 1700, in the Gallery
Inventory of Queen Anne's Pictures at Kensington, Hampton Court, Windsor, St. James's and Somerset House. circa 1705-10, no. 97, in the Queen's Gallery at Windsor
Inventory of George II, Pictures at Kensington. 1732 and 1736, p. 2, in the Great Drawing Room
Hume, A. Notices of the Life and Works of Titian. London, 1829, pp. 76, 78.
Probably Waagen, G. F. Treasures of Art in Great Britain. vol. II, Appendix, London, 1854, p. 480, no. 13, under 'Catalogue of the Capital Pictures in the Collection of Charles I, King of England'.
Crowe, J. A.; Cavalcaselle, G. B. Titian: His Life and Times. vol. II, London, J. Murray, 1877, p. 141.
Possibly Cosnac, J. Les richesses du Palais Mazarin. Paris, 1885, p. 416, no. 78, "Hérodes avec la teste de saint Jean, par Tissian".
Waterhouse, E. K. Paintings from Venice for Seventeenth Century England: Some Records of a Forgotten Transaction. Italian Studies. vol. 7, 1952, p. 15.
Millar, Oliver. The Inventories and Valuations of the King's Goods, 1649-1651. The Walpole Society. vol. 43, 1970-1972, p. 190, no. 78.
Miller, P. Scots Expert Unveils Titian's Lost Salome to the World: First Showing for Multi-million Pound Find. The Herald. 4 August 2004, p. 4.
AA. VV. Not for an Age, but for All Time. Edinburgh Evening News. 3 August 2004.
Cornwell, T. Double Delight Unveiled at National Gallery as New Age of Titian Dawns. The Scotsman. 4 August 2004, p. 13.
Tagliaferro, Giorgio. La bottega di Tiziano: Un percorso critico. Studi Tizianeschi. vol. 4, 2006, pp. 45, 47, fig. 23.
Humfrey, Peter. Titian: The Complete Paintings. [Ghent], Ludion/ New York, 2007, p. 329, no. 256, col. repr.
Annual Bulletin of the National Museum of Western Art. No. 46 (Apr. 2011-Mar. 2012), 2013, Watanabe, Shinsuke. New Acquisitions. pp. 14-17, List of New Acquisitions. p. 48, repr.
Masterpieces: The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo. Tokyo, The Western Art Foundation, 2013 (Japanese, preface in Japanese and English), no. 17, col. repr.

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