- Museum number
The feast of Herod; Herod and his wife seated underneath the portico of a domed building in left background; Salome approaching with the head of the Baptist; in centre background the executioner standing next to the headless corpse; in right background view of a landscape with a town and a river with bathers and a boat-party; in foreground courtiers in contemporary dress holding a banquet; at left dancers and musicians; one couple followed by death holding a scythe; printed from two blocks; some tears where the paper was folded repaired; early impression.
Woodcut and letterpress
- Production date
Height: 384 millimetres (Sheet size)
Width: 267 millimetres (Per block)
Width: 533 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- BM also has two late impressions, see 1891,1015.13 and E,2.413.
Text from Bartrum 1995
Literature: Pauli 832, and 'Nachtrag', p. 31; C. Dodgson, I, p. 459, 103 (not the impression described); Hollstein, p. 188 (first state)
The figure of Salome in the left background, carrying the head of John the Baptist, identifies the subject of this print as the feast of Herodias; but this event could easily be overlooked behind the open-air courtly entertainment which is prominently displayed in the foreground. Beham has used the biblical subject to display a festive occasion, to which his contemporaries could easily relate. The underlying theme warns of the tendencies of women to dominate even the most powerful of men and lead them into foolish and sinful behaviour. Together with other famous women, such as Delilah, Phyllis and Judith, Salome was frequently shown in series which illustrated female dominance. Overtly sensual behaviour, which was thought to be the result of this, is shown here in the right background. Another common feature of Beham's period, the reminder of human mortality, is seen in the centre of the print just below Salome: a figure of Death with an hourglass approaches an unsuspecting well-dressed couple.
The imperial privilege granted to the publisher, Albrecht Glockendon, which only appears in the very rare first state of this woodcut, bears witness to the extreme popularity of this type of print and to a concomitant problem of piracy. Albrecht Glockendon (active c.1515-45) came from an important Nuremberg family of artists, many of whom were associated with the print trade. He was primarily a manuscript illuminator; his major works in this he include a prayer-book for Duke Wilhelm IV of Bavaria of 1535 (Vienna, Staatsbibliothek) and the 'Glockendon Missal' of 1530-42 (Nuremberg, Stadtbibliothek). His activity as a block-cutter ('Formschneider') and publisher of single-sheet woodcuts ('Briefmaler') is marked by his collaboration with Sebald Beham which extended over ten years (for the earliest woodcut Glockendon published for Beham, the 'Large Garland' of c. 1520-25, see H.Appuhn and C. von Heusinger, 'Riesenholzschnitte und Papiertapeten der Renaissance', Unterschneidheim, 1976, p. 20). According to his contemporary Johann Neudörfer, Glockendon should also be considered 'half poet' on account of the German verses he composed (Neudörfer, p.143).
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1995 Jun-Oct, BM, 'German Renaissance Prints, 1490-1550', no.96
1996 Jun-Aug, Canterbury, Royal Mus and AG, German Renaissance Prints
1996 Nov-Dec, Edinburgh, NG of Scotland, German Renaissance Prints
1997 Jan-Mar, Cardiff, Nat Mus of Wales, German Renaissance Prints
1997 Apr-May, Llandudno, Oriel Mostyn Gallery, German Renaissance Prints
1997 Oct-Dec, Norwich, Sainsbury Centre, German Renaissance Prints
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Purchased from Messrs Johnson, Raymond-Barker & Co. (solicitors to Capt. Spencer Churchill) for £2 10s
1919,0616.1 to 133 were all purchased from Captain Spencer-Churchill at Northwick Park through his solicitors, Messrs Johnson, Raymond-Barker & Co, for a total of £655. The collection had been formed by John Rushout, 2nd Baron Northwick in the 1820s, and had descended to Captain Spencer-Churchill. The earlier provenance of many of the prints is recorded in individual catalogue records.
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number