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ID number:  BIRBI-74.1
Institution:  The Barber Institute of Fine Arts
Artist / Maker:  Pellegrini, Giovanni Antonio (1675-1741)
Title / Object name:  Judith and her maidservant with the head of Holofernes
Object type:  Painting
Culture:  Italian
Date made:  about 1708/13
Materials:  Oil on canvas
Measurements:  124.7 x 102 cm
Provenance:  Purchased from the Hazlitt Gallery, April 1974, for £27,000

The beautiful biblical heroine Judith saved the Israelites from conquest by Assyria. She stole into the tent of the Assyrian general Holofernes during the night and decapitated him. Here, she passes the head to her maid. In contrast to the horrors depicted by 17th-century artists, Pellegrini hides the body in the shadows, and, instead, he concentrates on Judith who looks directly at us, courting our acclaim. The lively brushwork and vibrant colour combinations also create a very different mood from earlier representations.

The Venetian artist Pellegrini worked in England between 1708-13 where this picture was probably painted.

Notes:  Exhibited: 'The Glory of Venice', Royal Academy, London, 1994, no. 40.

1 Related People

Pellegrini, Giovanni Antonio

3 Related Publications

Antonio Pellegrini
Knox, G.

The glory of Venice

Royal Academy, London
Scripture Bulletin
Corley, J
The Catholic Biblical Association of Great Britain
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