Marcel-Béronneau, Pierre Amédée

Bordeaux 1869 - Seyne-sur-Mer 1937
Biography & List of works

Salomé, or Judith

Salomé, or Judith

SOLD

Medium: Oil on canvas

Size: 54 x 65 cm

Signed: Signed upper-right: Marcel-Béronneau

Provenance:

Priavate collection, France

Exhibited:

Divine Decedence, Kasteel van Gaasbeek, Belgium, 27 March – 26 June 2016. 

Marcel-Béronneau was a student of Gustave Moreau; like his master, Marcel-Béronneau painted ornate scenes and hypnotic figures from mythology and exoticised history. He exhibited from 1895 forward both at the Salon and the later Salon des Indépendents, garnering medals in 1900, 1913 and 1926.

The Salome or perhaps Judith depicted here, in contrast to Moreau’s paintings of the subject, confidently confronts the viewer and not the ghost of the Baptiste. She appears steely and even satisfied – not remorseful and upset (as she is most often depicted by Moreau). Unquestionably empowered, Marcel-Béronneau’s Judean princess wears armour and holds a sword as if ready for battle, or ready to decapitate the Baptist herself for his slander and rejection.

The character of Salome is more a construction of the Western canon than a religious figure. The New Testament discusses the ‘Daughter of Herodias’, without ever naming her. The Gospel of Mark recounts [6:21-29] that Herodias bore a grudge against John the Baptist’s denouncement of Herod as unlawfully married:

‘On Herod’s birthday, the daughter of Herodias danced before them: and pleased Herod. Whereupon he promised with an oath, to give her whatsoever she would ask of him. But she being instructed before by her mother, said: Give me here in a dish the head of John the Baptist.. And his head was brought in a dish: and it was given to the damsel, and she brought it to her mother.’

Christianity used the character, later called Salome, to represent the dangers of female seductiveness and irrationality, and labelled the dance cited in the New Testament ‘erotic.’ Not until Oscar Wilde’s 1891 play, however, did Salome perform the renowned ‘dance of the seven veils’. Symbolist painters drew their Salome as much from Wilde as from biblical texts; Marcel-Béronneau treated the subject, in diverse compositions, on several occasions.

Marcel-Béronneau was a student of Gustave Moreau; like his master, Beronneau painted ornate scenes and hypnotic figures from mythology and exoticised history. He exhibited from 1895 forward both at the Salon and the later salons des Indépendents, garnering medals in 1900, 1913 and 1926.The Salome here, in contrast to Moreau’s paintings of the subject, confidently confronts the viewer and not the ghost of the Baptiste. She appears steely and even satisfied – not remorseful and upset (as she is most often depicted by Moreau). Unquestionably empowered, Beronneau’s Judean princess wears armour and holds a sword as if ready for battle, or ready to decapitate the Baptist herself for his slander and rejection.The character of Salome is more a construction of the Western canon than a religious figure. The New Testament discusses the ‘Daughter of Herodias’, without ever naming her. The Gospel of Mark recounts [6:21-29] that Herodias bore a grudge against John the Baptist’s denouncement of Herod as unlawfully married: On Herod's birthday, the daughter of Herodias danced before them: and pleased Herod. Whereupon he promised with an oath, to give her whatsoever she would ask of him. But she being instructed before by her mother, said: Give me here in a dish the head of John the Baptist.. And his head was brought in a dish: and it was given to the damsel, and she brought it to her mother.Christianity used the character, later called Salome, to represent the dangers of female seductiveness and irrationality, and labelled the dance cited in the New Testament ‘erotic.’ Not until Oscar Wilde’s 1891 play, however, did Salome perform the renowned ‘dance of the seven veils’. Symbolist painters drew their Salome as much from Wilde as from biblical texts; Beronneau treated the subject, in diverse compositions, on several occasions.