(Bologna 1579-Parma 1622)
Salomè with the head of the Baptist
Oil on canvas, cm 72.1 x 58.3
The work of art can be ascribed to Leonello Spada with a wide margin of certainty. He was a maestro from Bologna and probably one of the first followers to experience an actual relationship with maestro Merisi. Some sources, recalled by Emilio Negro, confirm that the twenty-year-old Lionello was among the models who posed for the Vocation of Saint Matthew in the church Saint Louis of the French.
Actually, the acquaintanceship between the two is not historically declared and, even though dates might confirm it, we all know that Caravaggio did not have any direct apprentices, he had only followers especially post mortem (after his death).
Between 1610 and 1617 Spada travelled a lot, he visited Naples, Malta and probably Rome, but he spent the last phase of his short career in Parma where he created several works of art chracterised by a clear Caravaggism for the court Ranuccio Farnese. Salome's scathing and thin features surely belong to this phase, where a widespread and golden light of Flemish cut is opposed to a chromatic
range that fluctuates between red and ochre of Salome's figure that stands out of the black background, merely Caravaggio's origin. Cogent comparisons are with the Good Fortune residing at Estense Gallery in Modena or with the thorn coronation residing at Condè Museum in Chantilly, while we can find the protype of Salome's face in Judith with Oloferne's head residing at the National Gallery in Bologna (inv. N. 69 cm 112.5x138; on the topic: Emilio Negro. Lionello Spada. Manerba/Reggio Emilia 2002, page 125, record 57, table XIX).
Evaluation by Emilio Negro