Judith And Her Maidservant With The Head Of Holofernes Analysis

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Judith and her Maidservant with the Head of Holofernes Judith and her Maidservant with the Head of Holofernes, by Orazio Gentileschi, is a 17th-century oil painting located in the Wadsworth Museum of Art. The painting depicts the moment after the biblical heroine, Judith, kills an invading Assyrian general, Holofernes, to save the city of Bethulia. Judith agrees to dine with Holofernes in the privacy of his tent and after taking advantage of his drunkenness she beheads him with his own sword (Branch). Gentileschi shows Judith and her maidservant, Abra, quickly escaping the scene with the decapitated head and sword cradled between them in a woven basket. The maidservant, dressed in a white headdress and blue gown, is in the process…show more content…
Orazio Gentileschi, who was one of the Italian Baroque painters working in Rome at the time, was heavily influenced by Caravaggio in the 1600s. Gentileschi used “dramatic, unconventional gesture and monumental composition” (The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica) in his paintings and his strong chiaroscuro shows off his abilities to create naturalistic figures in a dark space much like Caravaggio. The story of Judith is an example of a gruesome story painted with the intense detail and unsettling naturalism some artists at the time were practicing with. Gentileschi started Judith and her Maidservant with the Head of Holofernes in 1621 and by the time he finished four years later, his style had softened and returned to a more Mannerist style. This is highlighted in his most famous painting The Annunciation in 1623. His change of style is seen in the luxurious textures and elegant fabrics in the Judith and her Maidservant with the Head of Holofernes painting as
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