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Judith with the Head of Holofernes

Unknown and Unidentified Flemish artist3rd quarter 16th century

The Davis Museum at Wellesley College

The Davis Museum at Wellesley College

The Old Testament apocryphal Book of Judith recounts the story of a beautiful Israelite widow who saves her town from the approaching Assyrian army. Judith enters the invading camp under the pretense of seducing the commanding general, Holofernes. After drinking too much wine, Holofernes falls asleep, and Judith decapitates him with his own sword. With the help of her maid, she puts his head in a sack and carries it home. The Israelites proceed to defeat the Assyrian army. A popular subject in sixteenth-century Northern Europe, Judith offered a biblical exemplar of a woman who valued piety, virtue, and duty.

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  • Title: Judith with the Head of Holofernes
  • Creator: Unknown, Unidentified Flemish artist
  • Date: 3rd quarter 16th century
  • Physical Dimensions: w17 1/2 x h23 7/8 in (complete)
  • Provenance: Davis Museum at Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA, gift of Stafford Morss in memory of his wife, Gabrielle Ladd Morss (Class of 1958)
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: Courtesy of the Davis Museum at Wellesley College
  • External Link: Davis Museum at Wellesley College
  • Medium: Oil on panel
  • Artist: attributed to Vincent Sellaer

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