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Maker(s):Sirani, Elisabetta
Culture:Italian (1638-1665)
Title:Judith with the Head of Holofernes
Date Made:n.r.
Measurements:sheet: 9 15/16 in x 6 3/4 in ; 25.2 cm x 17.2 cm
Accession Number:  AC 1975.7
Credit Line:Museum purchase
Museum Collection:  Mead Art Museum at Amherst College

Label Text:
This print was believed to be a work by Elisabetta Sirani, after a painting by Guido Reni. Sirani was a child prodigy, an accomplished Bolognese painter and printmaker, and a founder of the first non-religious art school for women. She frequently chose female mythological and religious subjects for her works. Here, Judith, a woman from the Old Testament Apocrypha, is depicted holding the head of Holofernes, an Assyrian general who threatened to destroy her town, Bethulia. She tricked the general and his soldiers with her smart looks, intellect, and determination, and decapitated Holofernes in his tent. She triumphantly presents the head of Holofernes to the Israelite people, her deed having saved their homeland.

Research has determined that this etching is by Elisabetta’s father, Giovanni Andrea Sirani, a pupil of Guido Reni. The image below shows Elisabetta’s own rendering of the scene. In her painting from 1658, she depicts the full figure of a victorious Judith, humbly but resolutely stepping forward to give the news to her people.

Christianity; figures; heads; religion; women

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1 Related Objects

AC 2009.210
Cousinet, Catherine Elisabeth; Le Nain, Louis (after)
Le Benedicite Flamant

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