John the Baptist from the Prevalence of Ritual Suite

Image Not Available Due to Copyright Restrictions
  • Romare Bearden, John the Baptist from the Prevalence of Ritual Suite, 1974, screenprint, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Byron Lewis, 2009.42.5

For a series of prints called the Prevalence of Ritual, Bearden reconfigured age-old stories as allegories of modern life. In John the Baptist he drew on the biblical story of Salome, who had performed a dance for King Herod that so pleased him he offered to grant anything she might ask. At her mother’s urging the young girl requested the head of John the Baptist, who had spoken out against her mother’s marriage to the king. The masklike heads of the figures in John the Baptist blend West African and Egyptian visual traditions with a narrative about vengeance and naïveté.

African American Art: Harlem Renaissance, Civil Rights Era, and Beyond, 2012
John the Baptist from the Prevalence of Ritual Suite
Not on view
image: 3137 12 in. (78.795.3 cm)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gift of Byron Lewis

Mediums Description
  • Religion – saint – St. John the Baptist
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