Saint Mary Salome and Her Family together with its companion piece Saint Mary Cleophas and Her Family, also in the National Gallery, were wings from an altarpiece combining painting and sculpture that was dedicated to the Holy Kinship or extended family of Christ. There was a fascination with the details of the life of the Holy Family as well as a growing desire to experience the Gospels on a human level in the late Middle Ages. According to the Golden Legend, written about 1270 as a compilation of earlier tales, Saint Anne married three times, her third husband being the father of Mary Salome, who was thus the half-sister of the Virgin Mary.
Strigel, who worked in Memmingen, a small city in the southern German province of Bavaria, makes Mary Salome the center of a comfortable domestic scene. Her father Salomas, wearing characteristic Jewish headgear, hovers behind her, while her husband Zebedee sits beside her. Their two small sons James and John are identifiable by the names inscribed on their halos. They will grow up to be disciples of Christ, and indeed Saint John is already busy writing a book in Hebrew like characters, foretelling his future activity as one of the four authors of the Gospels.
More information on this painting can be found in the Gallery publication German Paintings of the Fifteenth through Seventeenth Centuries, which is available as a free PDF https://www.nga.gov/content/dam/ngaweb/research/publications/pdfs/german-painting-fifteenth-through-seventeenth-centuries.pdf