Judith Beheading Holofernes
Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio
Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica, Rome, Italy
Judith Slaying Holofernes
Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte, Naples, Italy
These paintings depict the story of Judith, a Jewish widow. Holofernes, an Assyrian general, was about to take arms against Judith’s home city of Bethulia, but was overcome by lust for Judith. After sneaking into his tent at night and getting him inebriated, Judith and her maid decapitate Holofernes. They then take is head and present it to his troops, who then flee in terror, thereby saving Bethulia.
How many of you had to compare these two paintings for an Art History class? Why is this story such a popular subject for artists, especially in the early Renaissance?
Check out these other Judithes by Galizia, Giorgione, Botticelli, Mantegna, Lucas Cranach the Elder, and Klimt.