Start Date: c.1598
Genre: religious painting
Gallery: Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica
This painting tells the story Biblical story of Judith, who saved her people by seducing and beheading the Assyrian general Holofernes, which was a common theme in the 16th century. The same story has also been painted by artists such as Sandro Botticelli, Donatello, Artemesia Gentileshi, Giorgione, and Andrea Mantegna. In typical Caravaggio style, the painting depicts the moment of greatest impact, when Judith, whose emotions ring clear on her distraught face, physically beheads the Assyrian king. X-rays have revealed that Caravaggio changed the position of Holofernes’ head as he was painting, separating it farther from the body.