barber institute of fine arts
university of birmingham


Giulio Bonasone (c. 1498 – c. 1580)

Judith departing for Bethulia

Rome, after 1544

Engraving

Plate: 329 x 462 mm; mount: 516 x 629 mm

 

In this scene from the Apocrypha to the Bible, heroic Judith leaves the Assyrian camp after murdering Holofernes. Assisted by her maidservant, she carries his head on a tray, and his decapitated body can be seen lying lifeless from within the tent. Political unrest during the Renaissance popularised the notion of Judith as an exemplar of communal courage against tyranny. Bonasone’s engraving copies Michelangelo’s fresco of the subject in the Sistine Chapel, Rome.

Purchased in 1958 (No. 58. 12)

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