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HEROD AND SALOME

By Bob Booth 

This painting began its life during a sermon preached by the Revd. Dr Peter Sellick. The narrative was familiar ground. A story of power and weakness, truth and sin. Painting of Herod and Salome

King Herod had imprisoned John the Baptist for his public criticism to the royal marriage. This criticism was a comprehensive exposure of the king’s whole being, from his royal status to his most intimate personal life. Despite this however, Herod held John in high regard for his integrity, and his strength of character.

On his birthday the king held a party. Presumably as the proceedings became more relaxed, things were done and said that in the cool daylight of sober reason would have gone unsaid and not done. The celebrations ended with John’s death, and Herod’s deep sense of regret.

At this point in the sermon, my customary image of Herod as deluded and contemptible, became one of a grieving stupid human being.  The whole scenario, and the ‘why did I think it was a good idea to say that?’ question, seemed to take on an uncomfortable familiarity.

So once in my studio, the question was ‘what kind of brush strokes will admit to guilt and regret’.

Mark 6: 17-21