Lucas Cranach the Younger
German, 1515 – 1586
Herodias, about 1535
Oil on panel
22 7/16 x 19 5/8 in. (57 x 49.8 cm.)
29 x 26 1/8 x 2 5/16 in. (73.7 x 66.4 x 5.9 cm.) (frame)
Gift of the Museum Collectors
Conservation funded by E. Frederick Zopp, Honorary Consul of The Federal Republic of Germany, with additional support from the National Endowment for the Arts 1968.26

A Hidden Painting
For many years, this painting was thought to depict an unknown sixteenth-century woman. In 1995, while undergoing routine treatment to help preserve the artwork, conservators made a surprising discovery. The original wood panel had been cut down to a smaller size. Then, both the inscription at the top and wisps of hair at the bottom were painted over, changing the intended context of the painting. In its original format, the painting would have been much larger, with the figure of Herodias displaying the decapitated head of John the Baptist. At some point in the painting’s history, the subject was considered too lurid, and it was modified accordingly—likely in the hopes of a quick sale.