The Stomach Dance is a striking design by artist Aubrey Beardsley, created in 1894 as part of his contribution to the English publication of Salome. This black and white line block print on Japanese vellum features the titular character Salome doing the dance of the seven veils with her breasts and stomach exposed, and adorned with a peacock feather headdress.
Beardsley’s collaboration with Oscar Wilde on both the English edition and drawings for Wilde’s play Salome was significant in art and literature during the last third of the nineteenth century. The queer and gender-bending nature of Salome in The Stomach Dance is notable, as Beardsley pushed societal boundaries through his work.
The artwork showcases Beardsley’s unique style, characterized by clean lines, intricate patterns, and dramatic contrasts between light and dark. While some critics viewed his work as too decadent or vulgar for public display at the time, many now recognize him as an important figure in late Victorian art.
Through The Stomach Dance, Beardsley has conveyed a powerful representation of female sexuality that continues to captivate audiences over a century later.