Judith and Holofernes
- A story from the Apocrypha that relates how Judith saved the Israelites from the Babylonians, who had cut off their water supply. Judith entered the Babylonian camp and agreed to dine with Holofernes, their commander. She gave him so much to drink that he fell into a stupor. Then she grabbed his sword and beheaded him. In the morning, the Babylonians, confused by the event, were defeated by the Israelites. In art, the image of Judith and Holofernes became a symbol of virtue overcoming vice. Andrea Mantegna depicted Judith placing the head of Holofernes in a bag held by her servant Abra, while the beheaded corpse lies on a bed behind them (c. 1495; Washington, National Gallery). Donatello (1459; Florence, Palazzo Vecchio), Caravaggio (c. 1598; Rome, Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica), and Artemisia Gentileschi (1612-1613; Naples, Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte) chose to portray the moment when Judith cuts off Holofernes' head.
Historical dictionary of Renaissance art. Lilian H. Zirpolo. 2008.
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Judith and Holofernes — This article discusses the development of the iconography of this scene in Western sculpture and painting. For details of the account in the Book of Judith, see Holofernes and Book of Judith, and for its depiction in other media see Judith in… … Wikipedia
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