Judith and Holofernes (1820 – 1823) by Francisco Goya

Judith and Holofernes - Francisco Goya - 1820 - 1823

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Artwork Information

TitleJudith and Holofernes
ArtistFrancisco Goya
Date1820 - 1823
Dimensions143.5 x 81.4 cm
Art MovementRomanticism
Current LocationMuseo del Prado, Madrid, Spain

About Judith and Holofernes

The artwork titled “Judith and Holofernes,” crafted by the renowned artist Francisco Goya, was completed during the period of 1820-1823. This piece is executed using oil on canvas and is part of the artistic movement known as Romanticism. The painting’s dimensions are 143.5 x 81.4 cm and it is categorized under the genre of religious painting. It belongs to the series of works referred to as the “Black Paintings,” which were created between 1819 and 1823. Presently, this artwork is housed in the Museo del Prado located in Madrid, Spain.

In the artwork, the dramatic and intense scene from the Biblical story of Judith and Holofernes is portrayed with a strong emotional charge, a characteristic of Romanticism. The figure of Judith dominates the composition, where she is depicted with a solemn and determined expression as she grasps a sword with her right hand, poising herself to strike. Judith’s attire and the turban-like headgear she wears are rendered with loose, vigorous brushstrokes, highlighting the energetic execution typical of Goya’s later works.

In contrast to her resolute demeanor, Holofernes is not distinctly visible, illustrating the moment just prior to the act of decapitation. The use of dark, somber tones and the murky background create a sense of foreboding and accentuate the grim nature of the scene. The artwork employs sharp contrasts between the illuminated portions and the surrounding darkness, creating a focal point around the central figures and conveying a profound psychological intensity. This painting, like other works from Goya’s “Black Paintings” series, reflects the artist’s disillusionment and explores themes of violence, power, and human nature.

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