Judith with the Head of Holofernes

Lucas Cranach the Elder German

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 607

The Jewish heroine Judith presents the severed head of the Assyrian general who besieged her city, having seduced and then beheaded him with his own sword. Appropriately, she is “dressed to kill” and wears an elaborate contemporary costume that would have appealed to Cranach’s courtly patrons. The painter and his workshop produced several versions of this successful composition, which contrasts Holofernes’s gruesome head with Judith’s serene beauty. At the lower right is Cranach’s insignia: a crowned, winged serpent with a ring in its mouth.

Judith with the Head of Holofernes, Lucas Cranach the Elder (German, Kronach 1472–1553 Weimar), Oil on linden

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