Physical Dimensions: painted surface: 30.1 x 18.1 cm (11 7/8 x 7 1/8 in.)
overall: 30.8 x 19.7 cm (12 1/8 x 7 3/4 in.)
framed: 45.7 x 32.1 x 7.6 cm (18 x 12 5/8 x 3 in.)
Provenance: Possibly Charles I, King of England [1600-1649]; by exchange to William Herbert, 3rd earl of Pembroke [1580-1630], Wilton House, Salisbury, before 1625; by inheritance to his brother, Philip Herbert, 4th earl of Pembroke [1584-1649/1650]; by inheritance to his son, Philip Herbert, 5th earl of Pembroke [1620/1621-1669]; by inheritance to his son, William Herbert, 6th earl of Pembroke [1640-1674]; by inheritance to his half-brother, Philip Herbert, 7th earl of Pembroke [1652/1653-1683]; by inheritance to his brother, Thomas Herbert, 8th earl of Pembroke [1656-1732/1733]; by inheritance to his son, Henry Herbert, 9th earl of Pembroke [1693-1749/1750]; by inheritance to his son, Henry Herbert, 10th earl of Pembroke [1734-1794]; by inheritance to his son, George Augustus Herbert, 11th earl of Pembroke [1759-1827]; by inheritance to his son, Robert Henry Herbert, 12th earl of Pembroke [1791-1862]; by inheritance to his nephew, George Robert Charles Herbert, 13th early of Pembroke [1850-1895]; by inheritance to his brother, Sidney Herbert, 14th earl of Pembroke [1853-1913]; by inheritance to his son, Reginald Herbert, 15th earl of Pembroke [1880-1960]; (his sale, Sotheby's, London, 5-6 and 9-10 July 1917, 4th day, no. 542 [sold privately]); listed July to September 1917 in (Thomas Agnew & Sons, Ltd., London) stock, owned jointly with (Duveen Brothers, Inc., London and New York); on approval to Carl W. Hamilton [1886-1967], New York, by 1920, and returned 1921; purchased c. 1923 by Joseph E. Widener, Lynnewood Hall, Elkins Park, Pennsylvania; inheritance from Estate of Peter A.B. Widener by gift through power of appointment of Joseph E. Widener, Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, after purchase by funds of the Estate; gift 1942 to NGA.
 The painting is first recorded in the Earl of Pembroke's collection at Wilton by C. Gambarini, _A Description of the Earl of Pembroke's Pictures_, Westminster, 1731: 93, no. 4. Johann David Passavant, _Tour of a German Artist in England_, English ed., 2 vols, London, 1836: 1:306, connected it with the mention of a painting of Judith by Raphael in Abraham van der Doort's 1639 inventory of the collection of King Charles I (published as Abraham van der Doort, _A Catalogue and Description of King Charles the First's Capital Collection of Pictures, Limnings, Statues, Bronzes, Medals, and Other Curiosities_, London, 1757), which was said to have been obtained in exchange for two works that had belonged to the Third Earl of Pembroke: a portrait of a young woman and a religious work by Parmigianino. The Raphael Judith is thus mentioned twice in connection with these two other works. First it appears in item no. 15: "A moddest forward full-faced painted younge womans picture..., onely a head, halfe soe bigg as the life wch your-Matie togeither with the 2. Children of Permencius had in way of Exchange for the little Judith of Rafell Urbin when you were Prince of the late decd Lo: of Penbrooke Steward of your Mats houshould: painted upon the right light." The _Judith_ is mentioned again in item no. 26: "Item a peece of. 2. naked Children imbraceing one another signifying Christ and St John in-the desart said to bee don by Parmentius Chaunged by yor Maty with my Lo: Steward Pembrooke decd for a Judith beeing a little intire figure said to have been don by Raphael d'Urben..." (quoted from Oliver Millar, "Abraham van der Doort's Catalogue of the Collections of Charles I," _Walpole Society_ 37 (1960): 79, 81). But Millar 1960: 232, rejecting Passavant's identification, has suggested that the Judith in the inventory may be identifiable with Giorgione's well-known painting of the heroine in the State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg.
The painting's inclusion in a 1992 exhibition about Lorenzo de' Medici's Giardino di San Marco reflected its occasional identification with a small panel painting of Judith by Mantegna, listed in the 1492 inventory of Lorenzo's collection. This work was similar in scale and function to NGA 1942.9.42, that is, "una tavoletta [small panel] in una cassetta [box] dipinti su una Giudetta chon la testa d'Oloferno e una serva, opera d'Andrea Squarcione [i.e., Mantegna]" (_Libro d'inventario_ 1992: 51). Paul Kristeller, _Andrea Mantegna_, trans. S. Arthur Strong, London and New York, 1901: 20-21, who did not regard the NGA painting as Mantegna's, listed Lorenzo's little panel of the same subject among the artist's lost or missing works. Lionello Venturi (_Pitture italiane in America_, Milan, 1931, and expanded English ed., _Italian Paintings in America_, trans. Countess van den Heuvel and Charles Marriott, 3 vols., New York and Milan, 1933: 2: pl. 340, note) first identified the NGA painting with Lorenzo's picture, and Hans Tietze (_Meisterwerke europäischer Malerei in Amerika_, Vienna, 1935: 328, and English ed., 1939: 312) followed suit. Though accepted hypothetically by Renata Cipriani, _Tutta la pittura del Mantegna_, 1st and 2nd ed., Milan, 1956: 60, and English ed., _All the Paintings of Mantegna_, trans. Paul Colacicchi, 2 vols., New York, 1963: 79, and by Rona Goffen in _Small Paintings of the Masters, Masterpieces Reproduced in Actual Size. Early Italian School_, ed. Leslie Shore, 3 vols., Redding, Connecticut, 1980: no. 30, the identification was rejected by Erika Tietze-Conrat, _Mantegna. Paintings Drawings Engravings_, New York, 1955: 245; Niny Garavaglia, _L'opera completa del Mantegna_, Milan, 1967: 109-110; and Ronald Lightbown, _Mantegna_, Oxford, 1986: 435, cat. 30.
 The Getty Provenance Index provides the details about the listing in Agnew's stock. The entry for the painting in the Duveen Brothers Records has the following notations: "1/2 share Scott Fowles," "Sotheby 19/7/17," and "Agnew 23/9/17" (copy in NGA curatorial files; X Book, Reel 422, Duveen Brothers Records, accession number 960015, Research Library, The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles). According to Edward Fowles (_Memories of Duveen Brothers_, London, 1976: 127-129), a large collection of Italian paintings was offered on approval to Hamilton by 1920, but he did not purchase them and returned them to Duveen the following year.
 Widener collection records, in NGA curatorial files, give a purchase date of c. 1921, but the Duveen Brothers Records list expenses for the painting into 1923, indicating they probably still had ownership until that time.