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Edgardo Sambo, Salome

Special Exhibit
January 1, 2015-April 11, 2015

Location: Alan and Riva Slifka Gallery


Edgardo Sambo

This painting by the Italian artist Edgardo Sambo, who worked most of his life in his native Trieste, depicts one of the classic figures of the femme fatale in Western art and culture. The daughter of King Herod II and Herodias, Shlomit - better known by the Roman form of her name, Salome - is famous for requesting, on behalf of her mother, the head of John the Baptist on a platter as a reward for her beautiful dancing before King Herod and his guests on his birthday.

Sambo's Salome symbolizes the spirit of decadence that characterized the Roaring Twenties in Northern Italy. Her fashionable bob, snakelike movements, and provocative nudity take her out of her original context, reflecting the lifestyle of a social class that considered itself above moral norms and taboos. The painting's magnificent 19th century frame, chosen by the artist himself, adds to its ambience of glamour and decadence.

Edgardo Sambo, who has been almost completely forgotten, was trained as an Academic painter in the Academy of Trieste and later of Venice and Monaco. In the early 20th century he traveled to Vienna and Prague, where he discovered the Symbolists, Czech Art Nouveau (Alphonse Mucha), and the Vienna Secession. Their influence - in particular that of Gustav Klimt - is evident in this painting.

Edgardo Sambo, Italian, 1882-1966
Salome, ca. 1920
Oil on canvas
Extended loan from a private collection