This painting bears a serpent 'trademark', and is dated 1530. It is attributed to the German artist Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472-1553), who used this trademark as a mark of authenticity on work originating in his workshop. The painting is executed in oil on wood panel, and depicts the Jewish heroine, Judith, whose story is told in the Apocrypha section of the Bible. Judith, a grieving widow, put on her best clothes and seduced Holofernes, the officer commanding troops who were violently threatening her fellow citizens. Once Holofernes had succumbed to her advances, she beheaded him with a sword. Judith is depicted here, in all her finery, displaying Holofernes's head in triumph.
This is a very fine painting, with exquisite detail, particularly in the background landscape and Judith's elaborate costume, both of which relate to the German location and time when the work was made. Many paintings of female figures, in formats similar to this work, originated from Cranach's family workshop whilst it was in operation, but this is a particularly impressive example.
[http://www.glasgowlife.org.uk/museums/collections-research/online-collections navigator/Pages/home.aspx] (accessed 22.05.2013)