Judith Beheading Holofernes (1620) by Artemisia Gentileschi

Judith Beheading Holofernes - Artemisia Gentileschi - 1614 - 1620

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Artwork Information

TitleJudith Beheading Holofernes
ArtistArtemisia Gentileschi
Date1614 - 1620
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions125.5 x 158.8 cm
Art MovementTenebrism
Current LocationNational Museum of Capodimonte, Naples, Italy, Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy

About Judith Beheading Holofernes

The artwork “Judith Beheading Holofernes” by Artemisia Gentileschi, painted between 1614 and 1620, is an oil on canvas that partakes in the Tenebrism movement. It measures 125.5 cm by 158.8 cm and is categorized as a religious painting. The artwork is presently held in the National Museum of Capodimonte in Naples, Italy, as well as in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy.

This artwork vividly depicts the biblical scene of Judith beheading Holofernes. Judith, a young widow from the biblical city of Bethulia, is portrayed as a figure of steadfast determination and strength. In the painting, she is seen in the act of decapitating Holofernes, an Assyrian general, to save her city from his siege. The composition is dramatic and intense, highlighting the stark contrast of light and shadow characteristic of the Tenebrism style. Judith is assisted by her maidservant, who firmly holds Holofernes down, her face taut with effort as she presses on the general’s chest. Artemisia Gentileschi’s powerful rendering of the subject brings forth a compelling narrative of courage and female power. The detailed execution of the painting, from the realistic portrayal of muscular tension and blood to the dynamic expressions of the characters involved, creates a sense of immediacy and emotional depth, inviting the viewer to contemplate the gravity of the depicted moment.

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