John the Baptist, known as the “Precursor”, came from the desert where he had gone to meditate and do penance, to the river Jordan, where he baptised Jesus Christ.
The tetrarch of Galilee imprisoned him shortly before Christ was crucified. John the Baptist sent him a message asking “Are you the one that is to come, or should we expect some other?” Later, Herod Antipas ordered him to be decapitated at the behest of this step-daughter princess Salome.
Her wish granted, she danced the “Dance of the Seven Veils” at a banquet with the head of the “Precursor” on a golden tray.
Dali portrays the Baptist with his two best known symbols: the crucifix, and the shell. The nervous texture of the figure depicts a proud, well built man, thin yet strong, standing tall against the odds to defend and proclaim his Belief.