Judith Slaying Holofernes by Artemisia Gentileschi
My most favorite baroque style painting, ever.
Judith was a widow living in the city of Bethulia during an invasion by the Assyrian army and their general Holofernes to capture and take over the city. During their siege, the Jewish people began to lose hope in their battle (and their faith) so Judith decided to take matters into her own hands and win the city back from the Assyrians.
She then got dressed in her finest clothes, put on her best perfume, and made her way to the Assyrian camp in order to meet with general Holofernes, herself. Upon being allowed to enter the camp and meet the general she was invited to a feast. On this fateful night, general Holofernes was captivated by the beauty of Judith, got shit faced and was seduced into his tent. Once Holofernes was belligerently drunk and in his tent with Judith she awaited his slumber. A drunk Holofernes, finally asleep, both Judith and her maid reveal a sword and proceeded to behead general Holofernes ruthlessly.
Finished with the dismemberment, she places the head in a food sack and leaves the tent with her maid. Judith then reveals the head of Holofernes to the Jewish people of Bethulia as a trophy (to encourage an attack to take back their city) and the Assyrian troops which frighten the fuck out of them and force them to decamp and return home.
Now this is the version I was taught in my Women’s Art History class a while back. However, I’ve done some looking up online and there are a few variations of this story. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong! Whatever the case may be, Judith is still that bitch.
And thank you to Artemisia for portraying this scene the way it should have been unlike Caravaggio who made Judith look weak in his painting.