Life and Art of Artemisia Gentileschi > Judith and Her Maidservant with the Head of Holofernes > Next Painting

Judith and Her Maidservant with the Head of Holofernes.

c. 1625.

Oil on canvas.

1.84m by 1.416m

The Detroit Institute of Arts

The Painting.

One of Artemisia's best works, this scene is tense with imminent danger as Judith and Abra prepare to flee Holofernes's tent with his severed head. Dramatic and unusual chiaroscuro, especially the shadows Judith's hand casts on her face, together with vigilant expressions and posture, add urgency to the scene. A more detailed view of this appears on the next page.

The Artist's Life.

This second Roman Period of Artemisia's career was successful and productive. She appears to have outlived the trauma of the rape. With this painting, she revisits "the scene of the crime", but, in this pose, the women hold dominance over the menacing male.

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