Salome is an archetype of the femme fatale, the embodiment of a deadly femininity. The Biblical seductress who was responsible for the beheading of Saint John the Baptist was a frequent motif in the repertoires of male artists during the end of the 19th century. For New Salome (1893), Max Klinger reimagines her as a modern vixen in living color, with not one but two grotesquely severed male heads as her side. Applying watercolor to her flesh and bright paint to her lips (now worn off) and hair, Klinger emphasized her sensuality, though he left the gray marble cloak in its natural state. Her piercing amber eyes transfix her intended male admirers, threatening to make thinner next victims. Just as color vivifies dead matter, the living bust turns the viewers to stone. Pygmalion’s statue and Medusa become one.
Photographed in The Met Breuer (Now Closed) as Part of the 2018 Exhibit, Like Life: Sculpture, Color and The Body.