Italian Treasures in the US Italian Treasures in the US

Judith with the Head of Holofernes

Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive

Berkeley, CA

Cesari, Giuseppe (Il Cavaliere d'Arpino)

Year: 1603-1606

Type of Work: Painting

Material: Oil on canvas

Description: The Old Testament heroine Judith here holds the head of Holofernes after beheading him. Holofernes was the leader of the enemy forces that had besieged Judith’s city of Bethulia. Judith had gained entry to Holofernes’ camp by pretending to be a traitor.For artists and a religious public, Judith’s deed embodied the virtues of chastity, justice, and the triumph of humility over pride. By the sixteenth century, however, Judith was increasingly associated with less noble heroines, such as Salome. Both were often represented by male artists as the embodiment of feminine erotic tyranny over men.

University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific FIlm Archive, museum purchase
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