FURINI, Francesco
(b. 1603, Firenze, d. 1646, Firenze)

Judith and Holofernes

Oil on canvas, 116 x 151 cm
Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica, Rome

Furini, a central figure of Florentine seventeenth-century painting and a student of Passignano and of Bilivert, was in Rome in 1619. There he absorbed the foundations of the Caravaggesque style through his exposure to Manfredi. Next he went to Venice, where he developed a complex and individualistic baroque style; precious and hazily atmospheric.

The dependence of the figure of Judith on a statue of Giambologna (the Mars now at the Berlin State Museum) has been noted: the same artistic reference appears in other works of the painter. The Judith and Holofernes is identifiable as the same one that Baldinucci described in the Vitelli collection, a painting commissioned directly from Furini by his "illustrious benefactor" and which later passed into the Salviati collection. Dating to about 1636, the work belongs to the period of the painter's maturity. The figure of Judith can be connected to another painting of Furini's with a similar subject (Florence, private collection) which belongs to an immediately subsequent moment of the artist's career.

Suggested listening (streaming mp3, 17 minutes):
Alessandro Scarlatti: La Giuditta, oratorio, Part I (excerpts)