PICCINI, Giacomo
(b. ca. 1617, Venezia, d. ca. 1669, Venezia)

Judith

1658
Engraving, 300 x 360 cm
British Museum, London

The Fondaco dei Tedeschi, which formed the headquarters of the German merchant community of Venice, occupies a prominent site on the Grand Canal, immediately next to the Rialto Bridge. The decoration of the principal, western façade of the Fondaco was entrusted to Giorgione, while Titian was allocated the much less important façade to the south, which looks on to a narrow street. Titian's frescoes, painted c. 1509, included trophies, children engaged in combat, and other images of struggle and warfare. The dominant image, placed directly above the entrance portal, was interpreted as a representation of Judith. It survives as a scarcely legible fragment, but its composition is recorded in an engraving by Jacopo Piccini. This shows the Old Testament heroine triumphant over the severed head of Holofernes, while the soldier on the left perfidiously conceals a dagger behind his back.