CRANACH, Lucas the Elder
(b. 1472, Kronach, d. 1553, Weimar)

Judith with the Head of Holofernes

Oil and tempera on limewood, 87 x 58 cm
Staatliche Museen, Kassel

In this panel the beautiful Judith presents the severed head of Nebuchadnezzar's general Holofernes after she had cut off with his own sword. The head lies in the foreground on a stone balustrade, behind which the biblical heroine appears holding her sword upright like a personification of justice. The severed head of Holofernes is almost identical with the head of John the Baptist in Cranach's depictions of Salome.

This composition was very successful, the Cranach workshop reproduced it in more than a dozen versions.