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Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn: Judith Beheading Holofernes

Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn 1606 – 1669

Judith Beheading Holofernes

pen drawing (18 × 15 cm) — c. 1653 Museum Museo di Capodimonte, Naples

Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn biography

This work is linked to Judith 13:8

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The story of the brave Judith was very popular in Rembrandt's days, never mind it being regarded apocryphal by the church authorities. Most artists chose to depict the moment the head was put into the sack (as Rembrandt did in 1635), but here we are witness to the moment suprème.

Judith's town Bethulia is being besieged by the Assyrian warlord Holophernes and Judith decides the moment has come to end her people's suffering. She manages to get into Holophernes' tent by deceiving the Assyrians and cuts off his head with his own sword.

Page metadata

Title: Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn: Judith Beheading Holofernes
Author / citation: here
First published: 27 September 2005
Last modified: 12 January 2008