His two paintings of Salome shown at the 1876 Salon are dominated if not overwhelmed by their symbols. They are the watershed in his art.
A story of horrific brutality set in Carthage after the First Punic War may not seem ideal for paintings. But at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, it was.
As he celebrates his 50th birthday, his young family are growing in size and number. More brilliant paintings, and more success.
From the 1870s, Salome became the central figure in the story, and increasingly became the femme fatale: beautiful, sexy, and dangerous to know.