Judith decapitating Olofern, Artemisia Gentileski, 1620

Judith decapitating Olofern, Artemisia Gentileski, 1620
Judith decapitating Olofern, Artemisia Gentileski, 1620 - 1

  • Posted by Artemisia Gentileski
  • Museum: Uffizi Gallery
  • Year: 1620

Overview of the painting :

The Judith Decapitating Olofern – Artemisia Gentileski. 1620. Oil on canvas. 199×162.5
   The daughter of Orazio Gentileski, the best of those who belonged to the Caravaggio school, Artemisia Gentileski (1593 – about 1653) inherited all the features of this direction. They appeared in the picture presented.

   For the canvas, the artist chose the moment when the Israeli woman Judith, who seduced the Assyrian commander Olofern, whose army besieged her hometown, kills him. Gentileski depicts a bloody scene with frightening details: the maid tries to keep Olofern distraught with fear, and Judith grabs his hair and puts the sword blade in his neck.

   The painting of Karavaggio, which also depicted Judith and Olofern, David with the head of Goliath, was distinguished by intense drama. The influence of this master also explains the complex postures in the picture of Gentileski, and bright white light, like a flash of lightning, snatching figures from the darkness. Like her correspondence teacher, Gentileski skillfully depicts the human body, either strong and tense, like Judith’s hands, then soft and almost limp, like Olofern’s shoulders and legs.

   The composition developing around the invisible axis, the forced emotions of the characters, some of the theatricality inherent in the depicted, are signs of the Baroque art in which the artist showed herself.