The picture is created on a religious plot. Herod’s daughter, Herodias, wished that the head of John the Baptist be brought to her on a platter. Her wish was fulfilled. The fact is that John condemned the marriage of Herodias to her uncle. A woman has long wanted to take revenge on him for this. And finally, this opportunity presented itself to her.
Kramskoy depicted the moment when the head of the baptist was already brought to Herodias. She looks at her and enjoys a long-awaited victory. The artist was able to draw the slut as realistic as possible. Herodias is beautiful. Her dark face is framed by lush hair, gathered in a spectacular hairstyle. Dark skin and regular features attract the eyes of the spectators. She is gorgeous, but the beauty pushes her away. You can feel its rigidity, which is seen through the eyes of the girl.
On Herodias dress simple style. Kramskoy masterfully depicts the folds of fabric, under which the female body is guessed. It seems that the fabric is transparent in places. Through it you can see a magnificent body. The viewer draws in his imagination what one cannot see. This is the true mastery of the artist.
On the right we see the head of John the Baptist. It lies on a platter and is covered on top with a white cloth. The painter depicts the correct features of this person. He is beautiful even now, but this beauty is mournful.
The artist skillfully puts color accents. The background is deliberately dark. The figure of Herodias and the head of John are highlighted.
It is no coincidence that red dominates in the picture. This is the color of blood. For the whim of this woman who hated and wanted to get rid of John, murder was committed. Red reflections fall on her dress and legs. She has spotted herself. Herodias is guilty of the death of a man, and the artist conveys this with the help of paints.
Kramskoy took a religious story, but its interpretation is somewhat different. For him, human nature is important and that which pushes people to kill.