A Sheet of 8 etchings Judith

Francesco Mazzola alias Parmigianino

Collezione Fondazione Cariparma

Collezione Fondazione Cariparma
Parma, Italy

The sheet, of heavy laid paper, has an unidentified watermark, but similar to others produced in Italy between 1520 and 1530. It comes from the personal collection of Antonio Lafreri (1512 - 1577) who was an engraver and publisher in Rome. The eight small prints, which are part of Parmigianino's engravings corpus, are laid out on a single sheet. The artists printed multiple plates on the same sheet and then they trimmed individual images for the collectors' market. Considering the rarity of each single etching, this specimen is probably unique in the world.

The young biblical heroine emerges triumphantly from Holofernes' tent, the general of Nebuchadnezzar, who has just beheaded to save her city. Behind her, the servant is carrying a sack with a decapitated head to show to the citizens of Betulia as a sign of encouragement to inflict the definitive defeat on the Assyrians, left without a guide. Giuditta is raising her sword with pride as she instinctively turns to the elderly and faithful servant. There is no proportional precision in the anatomical representation, rather the immediacy of an attitude of nobility combined with the intimate attention to the one who accompanied and supported her in the venture.


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