Judith and the Head of Holofernes 1901 by Gustav Klimt [Austrian, 1862-1918]
Judith and the Head of Holofernes (also known as Judith I) is an oil painting by Gustav Klimt created in 1901. It depicts the biblical character of Judith holding the severed head of Holofernes.
The account of the beheading of Holofernes by Judith is given in the deuterocanonical book of Judith and is the subject of numerous depictions in painting and sculpture. In the story, Judith, a beautiful widow, is able to enter the tent of Holofernes because of his desire for her. Holofernes was an Assyria|Assyrian general who was about to destroy Judith’s home, the city of Bethulia, though the story is emphatic that no “defilement” takes place. Overcome with drink, he passes out and is Decapitation|decapitated by Judith; his head is taken away in a basket (often depicted as carried by an elderly female servant). Artists have mainly chosen one of two possible scenes (with or without the servant): the decapitation, with Holofernes prone on the bed, or the heroine holding or carrying the head. An exception is an early sixteenth-century stained glass window with two scenes. The central scene, by far the largest of the two, features Judith and Holofernes seated at a banquet. The smaller background scene has Judith and her servant stick Holofernes’ head in a sack, the headless body standing behind with his arm waving helplessly. In European art, Judith is very often accompanied by her maid at her shoulder, which helps to distinguish her from Salome, who also carries her victim’s head on a silver charger (plate).
What is the original size of Judith and the Head of Holofernes 1901?
84 cm x 42 cm (33 in x 17 in), oil on canvas
Where can I see Judith and the Head of Holofernes 1901?
Osterreichische Galerie Belvedere, Vienna
- Item Type: 100% Handmade Oil Painting
- Judith and the Head of Holofernes, 1901, by Gustav Klimt
- Material: Canvas
- No Frame
- 1 x Pc