Judith and Holofernes Donatello

Judith and Holofernes by Donatello

The bronze sculpture Judith and Holofernes Donatelli was created at the end of Donatello's career.

There is some uncertainty about the exact date of this sculpture, which has remained in the hands of experts for nearly four centuries.

In the past, experts have relied on letters containing references to inscriptions on the statue's base to date the sculpture.

However, the most recent research suggests that the statue was commissioned during the 1450s.

Judith and Holofernes Analysis

Judith and Holofernes Donatello

The Judith and Holofernes by the renowned Italian painter Donatello is a remarkably complex composition. The sculpture contains countless moral, Christological, and political references.

The Judith and Holofernes, which Donatello created around 1420, depicts a tragic hero and speaks to the human need for love.

The Judith and Holofernes was created for the Medici family and was intended as a companion piece for the bronze David. The Judith and Holofernes was cast in eleven phases, which are visible in the bronze sculpture. The Judith and Holofernes illustrates the battle between pride and humility.

Judith, the moral heroine, embodies the virtues of self-control, humility, and chastity. Donatello shows the contrast between the virtues of the Judith statue and the vices of the Holofernes by incorporating several different ideas.

Donatello's Judith and Holofernes is an evocative representation of the story of the two Biblical heroes. The statue depicts the heroic Judith triumphing over the evil general, Holofernes, and her disembodied head.

Judith's beauty and strength are emblematic of the virtue and power that she represented. Moreover, her triumph is accompanied by the symbolism of virtue and liberty, as the Medici family was affluent.

Renaissance artists were attracted to this story and depicted it in several different forms of art. 

Christian Story of Judith and Holofernes 

What is the story of Judith and Holofernes?

In the story of Judith and the Assyrian general Holofernes, a beautiful Jewish widow named Judith beheads her enemy. The story is taken from the deuterocanonical book of the Bible.

Judith crossed enemy lines to reach the Assyrian army and charmed Holofernes. He invited her to a banquet, and when she found him drunk, Judith cut off his head.

Judith and Holofernes Location

Judith and Holofernes was once located in the Loggia dei Lanzi, a terrace adjacent to the Palazzo della Signoria, but was removed from the gallery to make room for a new work by Donatello.

Donatello continued to work on several important commissions, including the dramatic bronze statue of St. John the Baptist for the Siena Cathedral. 

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