Trivium Art History
Gustav Klimt

Judith and the Head of Holofernes

Judith and the Head of Holofernes, 1901 — Gustav Klimt,
84 cm42 cm

Klimt depicts Judith as a femme fatale. She looks down on the viewer, her mouth voluptuously open and with her right hand she strokes the hair of Holofernes. The mountains, the fig trees and the vine stock refer to an Assyrian relief on the Palace of Sennacherib as a biblical place. Judith, also often mentioned as Salome, is a chase widow who defeats the haughty military leader of the Assyrians by plain ruse without seducing Holofernes and in a weak moment decapitates him. Klimt’s brother Ernst made the frame. The painting was first shown at the 8th International Art exhibition in Munich 1901.

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