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Title Judith and her Maidservant with the Head of Holofernes
Collection Barber Institute of Fine Arts, Birmingham
Artist Pellegrini, Giovanni Antonio (Italian painter, 1675-1741)
Date Earliest about 1708
Date Latest about 1713

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.

Current Accession Number 74.1
Subject religion (Judith)
Measurements 124.7 x 102.0 cm
Material oil on canvas
Acquisition Details Purchased from the Hazlitt Gallery 1974 for 27,000.
Principal Exhibitions The Glory of Venice, Royal Academy, London, 1994, cat. no. 40.
Publications Spencer-Longhurst, P., 'The Golden Jubilee of the Barber Institute', Apollo, October 1983, vol. 118, no. 260, pp. 305-7; Knox, G., Antonio Pellegrini, Oxford, 1995, p. 21, no. 227; Verdi, R., The Barber Institute of Fine Arts, London, 2005 rev. ed., p. 68.
Rights Owner The Barber Institute of Fine Arts, University of Birmingham
Author Dr Nicola Gauld/Barber Institute



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