This work is regarded as the best of the Hermitage's works from the Venetian School. The artist has taken as his subject the Biblical legend of Judith. When the Assyrian army laid siege to her native town of Bethulia, Judith set out to save both the city and its people. She penetrated the camp of Holofernes, commander of the enemy army, fascinated him with her beauty and intelligence, and when left alone with him after a banquet, beheaded the sleepy general with his own sword. Rather than depicting the final dramatic scene of the legend, Giorgione represents Judith in a state of tranquil meditation. The serenity of both the heroine and the landscape behind her do not seem to be in keeping with the dramatic events set out in the Bible, and only her traditional attributes confirm Judith as the subject of the painting.
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