Museums and Art

“Herodias”, Ivan Nikolaevich Kramskoy - description of the painting

“Herodias”, Ivan Nikolaevich Kramskoy - description of the painting

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Herodias - Ivan Nikolaevich Kramskoy. 142 x 118

Biblical themes in the work of Kramskoy are piercing, psychological and philosophical. It is enough to recall the tired and humble gaze of Jesus, which constitutes the emotional center, the canvases of Christ in the Desert.

The presented work was completed in 1886, shortly before the death of the painter. The plot of the picture was a famous story from the New Testament. Herodias, the daughter of Herod, gave the order to bring her the head of John the Baptist. The anger at John was not unfounded, because he sharply condemned her marriage to her uncle, reproaching her for debauchery. Herodias found a way of revenge.

And here on the dish in front of the heroine is the head of the Baptist. A woman looks at her terrifying “trophy” with a certain triumph. The author does not skimp, portraying Herodias - white skin, lush curls, taken under a silver hoop, and a delightful outfit. The heroine’s dress is transparent, it seems that you can see her skin. Libertine admires its beauty, but this beauty is cold, hard, stubborn. One can only wonder how Kramskiy managed to convey these contradictory halftones.

The unfortunate face was covered with a scarf, but Herodias casually turned her away so that the viewer could see the one who condemned her love. The subtle regular features of John's face also speak of beauty, but now this beauty is already mournful and majestic.

The author skillfully used colors in the picture - the background is darkened to bring the heroes to the fore. Red is not only an accent in terms of palette, but also in a metaphysical sense. Here, in the name of the whims of the prodigal woman, innocent blood was spilled.

Aggressive red color we see in the shoes of Herodias, in the image of the carpet and in the form of a background spot, at the elbow of a woman. It is no coincidence that flashes of red fall on the woman’s skirt - she stained herself with a deadly sin, destroying an innocent man ...


  1. Prescot

    I think this sentence is wonderful

  2. Kaarlo


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