Raphael Kirchner’s Salomés

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This drawing by Austrian artist Raphael Kirchner (1876–1917) caught my attention for its apparent combination of the Salomé theme with an arrangement of stones and cypresses that bring to mind Arnold Böcklin’s Isle of the Dead. All supposition on my part since I can’t find any definite confirmation that the picture is meant to depict Salomé, while a stand of cypresses is often just a stand of cypresses. But the Salomé theme and Böcklin’s island were popular enough fin de siècle subjects to be gestured towards in this manner, even on a piece of postcard art. In one of Kirchner’s other alleged Salomé cards he has a building that resembles the Temple of Cybele in Rome so the cypresses may simply be there to signify Ancient-World-plus-Mediterranean-setting (which in itself contradicts the Judean setting of the Salomé story). Kirchner’s speciality as an artist was attractive young women, often in states of undress, so the Ancient World here and elsewhere is providing the same excuse for a straight audience as “Greek” themes provided for homoerotica in the 19th and 20th century. There’s a lot more of Kirchner’s tasteful cheesecake at Wikiart.

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Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The Salomé archive

2 thoughts on “Raphael Kirchner’s Salomés”

  1. hello – hoping i can add an image to this comment as i have an engaging print of salome and i’ve been unable to track its artist. it is stylistic of Valenti Angelo but i doubt he is the artist.

    Hmmm- it doesn’t appear i can add an image – please advise as to how i can send along for review.

    thx!

    chas

  2. Hi Chas. I’m not an art expert, I’m just someone who writes about things that capture their interest. You’d be better off looking for someone else who can help or using one of the many image search options available. Google is now useless for this but Bing is still okay, as is Tineye and Yandex.

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