The picture was drawn in 1609.
The picture of Salome with the head of John the Baptist 1609 was discovered by Longhi in a Swiss private collection back in 1959.
He then linked the picture to a reference made by Bellori. According to a slow version of the subject with Caravaggio, the image was said to have been sent from Naples to Alof de Wignacourt in Malta where they hoped to regain the Grand Masters favour after the artist had been evicted from the Order of the Knights of St. John in 1608.
However, it occurs that Bellori was referring to an entirely different painting of the same subject, Salome with the head of John the Baptist. The handling and collection of this picture light link it to other works done in the city of Naples during the artist’s short stay there from 1606-1607.
The blances between Salome and the virgin in the Madonna of the Rosary painting further confirm the imprint. Also, the impression is confirmed between the killer holding the head of the John the Baptist and one of the two tortures in Christ at the Column.
The painting of Salome with the head of John the Baptist 1609 has clear indications that it was painted in Naples city by the existence of an ancient copy in the nearby Abbey of Montevergine at Avellino.
Nevertheless, the picture is likely to be the one in the Palacio Real Madrid. It has a quiet, sad and melancholic mood and its colouring has strong similarities to previous works of Caravaggio’s that came earlier before Sicilian sojourn.
The picture in the national gallery is in logical state and has only small openings of repainting, such as the assassin’s left hand. The work has been accepted by a majority number of scholars as an original piece. However, the national gallery has some doubts as to the painting’s legitimacy and collections. There are also some tempera and oil paint that appeared to be contained in a sample of paint taken from Salome’s white scarf.