Caravaggio, Judith beheading Holofernes
A whole book in the Bible is devoted to Judith, because as a woman she embodies the power of the people of Israel to defeat the enemy, though superior in numbers, by means of cunning and courage. She seeks out the conquering General Holofernes in his tent, seduces him, makes him drunk, then beheads him. The sight of their commander’s bloodstained head on the battlements of Bethulia puts the enemy to flight.
In the painting, Judith comes in with her maid from the right, against the direction of reading the picture. The general is lying naked on a white sheet. Paradoxically, his bed is distinguished by a magnificent red curtain, whose color crowns the act of murder as well as the heroine’s triumph.