Judith Beheading Holofernes is a baroque-style painting of the biblical episode by Caravaggio, in which the widow Judith stayed with the Assyrian general Holofernes in his tent after a banquet and then decapitated him after he passed out drunk. The exhibition catalog (Skira, 2018, p88) also cites biographer artist Giovanni Baglione’s account that Genoa banker Ottavio Costa commissioned the work.
The deuterocanonical Book of Judith tells how Judith served her people by seducing and pleasuring Holofernes, the Syrian General. Judith gets Holofernes drunk, then seizes her sword and slays him: “Approaching to his bed, she took hold of the hair of his head” (Judith 13:7–8).
Currently located at the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica at Palazzo Barberini, Rome, the artwork is the most pivotal part of the Book of Judith. It depicts a socially liberated woman who punishes masculine wrongdoing.”