Judith departing for Bethulia
Rome, after 1544
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)