(b. 1480, Serina, d. 1528, Venezia)


Oil on canvas, 90 x 71 cm
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

Palma il Vecchio was one of the great Venetian painters of the circle around the leading figures of Giorgione and Titian, who were his exact contemporaries. His paintings are full of vitality, colour and movement, with large figures who fill the canvas with their presence.

The fair Judith is a Jewish heroine updated to a blonde Venetian beauty, ample with life. The viewer must almost search to discover the haggard face of the dead Holophernes, whose beard Judith holds to steady her grisly prize. The difference in the sizes of their heads may denote a gender distinction, or may refer to David, another biblical tyrant-killer.

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