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The Old Testament heroine Judith here holds the head of Holofernes after beheading him. Holofernes was the leader of the enemy forces that had besieged Judith's city of Bethulia. Judith had gained entry to Holofernes' camp by pretending to be a traitor. For artists and a religious public, Judith's deed embodied the virtues of chastity, justice, and the triumph of humility over pride. By the sixteenth century, however, Judith was increasingly associated with less noble heroines, such as Salome. Both were often represented by male artists as the embodiment of feminine erotic tyranny over men.
Oil on canvas
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