GENTILESCHI, Artemisia
(b. 1593, Roma, d. ca. 1653, Napoli)

Judith Beheading Holofernes

1612-21
Oil on canvas, 199 x 162 cm
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

One of the most popular subjects of Artemisia Gentileschi is a particularly violent rendering of Judith killing Holofernes. An earlier version is in the Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte, Naples and another in the Pitti, Florence.

It has been suggested that Artemisia's Judith Beheading Holofernes in the Uffizi was essentially a fancy-dress copy of her father's earlier work and not an independent rethinking of the Naples composition. X-radiographs of the Naples picture reveal a substantial number of changes, which make it highly unlikely that the picture was a repetition of another composition.

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