Judith dining with Holofernes

Judith dining with Holofernes

Titles

Judith dining with Holofernes

[CDA 2011]

Die Historia von der Judith und dem Holofernes

'Die Historia von der Judith und dem Holofernes in 2 Tafeln bestehend, auf Holz gemahlt von Lucas Cranachen ao 1531 als (a) das eine wie die Judith mit dem Holoferne unter dem Zelte speiset' [Inventar 1721, fol. 513f., No. 178][1] [1][Exhib. Cat. Gotha 1994, 22]

Gegenstücke. Die Historia der Judith und des Holofernes.

'Gegenstücke. Die Historia der Judith und des Holofernes. Idem (Lux[Lucas] Mahler)' [Inventar 1656, fol. 1, No. 6 and 7][1] [1][Exhib. Cat. Gotha 1994, 22]

Historia von der Judith und Holoferne

'Lux(Lucas) Mahler. Historia von der Judith und Holoferne. 2 Stück.'
[Inventar 1659, fol. 6, 7][1] [1][Exhib. Cat. Gotha 1994, 22]

Wie Holofernes die Judith zue Gaste hatth

[Inventar Weimar 1638, fol. 1][1] [1][Exhib. Cat. Gotha 1994, 22]

Painting on limewood (Tilia sp.)

Medium

Painting on limewood (Tilia sp.)

[Exhib. Cat. Gotha 1994, 22]

On two prestigious panels Cranach illustrates the story about the pious widow Judith, which is told in one of the Old Testament's apocryphal books (the book of Judith). After Holofernes - the assyrian field commander who served the tyrannical King Nebuchadnezzar - had pillaged and murdered throughout the Middle East

On two prestigious panels Cranach illustrates the story about the pious widow Judith, which is told in one of the Old Testament's apocryphal books (the book of Judith). After Holofernes - the assyrian field commander who served the tyrannical King Nebuchadnezzar - had pillaged and murdered throughout the Middle East he lay siege to the Judahite town of Bethulia. Judith decided to save her home town from the hopeless situation and went into the field commander's camp, posing as a defector. Her beauty soon arroused the attention of Holofernes who then invited Judith to a banquet.

The first painting shows people around a table in the foreground under an apple tree. Holofernes is seated to the left at the head of the table wearing a splendid feather hat. Judith sits at his side, also elaborately dressed. She offers the field commander some of the fowel placed at the centre of the table. Behind Judith stands her maid, who has turned her attention to a soldier from Holofernes' entourage. The background, separated by a hazelnut hedge and a barricade of wagons, is completely taken up by an expansive and imaginary landscape with a rocky mountain with a castle. Dead soldiers and horses' corpses lie halfway on the banks of a river, at the right there are more tents. The continuation of the story of Judith is shown here at the same time. It is then shifted into the left foreground of the second panel: after Holofernes had withdrawn with Judith to his tent in anticipation of a night of love after the meal and had sent his guardsmen away, intoxicated by the wine he fell fast asleep. Judith took advantage of the circumstances to decapitate the field commander with his own sword. The proverbial headless army fled and the town was liberated.

[Timo Trümper, in Exhib. Cat. Gotha, Kassel 2015, 272]

Attributions
Lucas Cranach the Elder
Hans Cranach

Attributions

Lucas Cranach the Elder

[Exhib. Cat. Gotha 2015, No. 95]
[Exhib. Cat. Hamburg 2003, 172, No. 36]
[Exhib. Cat. Gotha 1994, 22]
"Lucas Cranach der Ältere"
[Schade 1974, 56-59, Plate 150][1]
"von Lucas Cranachen 1531. als a.) wie die Judith mit dem Holoferne unter dem Zelte speiset"
[Inventar 1721, fol. 513f., No. 178][1]
[1][Exhib. Cat. Gotha 1994, 22]

Hans Cranach

'Möglicherweise hat Hans Cranach Hauptanteil'
[Rudloff-Hille 1953, 35][1]

'Hans Cranach'
[Schenk zu Schweinsberg 1966, 41][1]

[1][Exhib. Cat. Gotha 1994, 22]

Workshop Lucas Cranach the Elder

'Cranach-Werkstatt'
[Scheidig 1953, 35][1]

[1][Exhib. Cat. Gotha 1994, 22]

Follower of Lucas Cranach the Elder

'Schülerarbeit'
[Zimmermann 1947, 52][1]

[1][Exhib. Cat. Gotha 1994, 22]

Production date
1531

Production date

1531

[dated]

Dimensions
Dimensions of support: 98.5 x 72.5 cm [Exhib. Cat. Gotha 1994, 22]

Dimensions

  • Dimensions of support: 98.5 x 72.5 cm [Exhib. Cat. Gotha 1994, 22]

  • Dimensions including frame: 113 x 88.5 cm [Stiftung Schloss Friedenstein, revised 1994]

Signature / Dating
Artist's insignia beneath the fork of the tree trunk: winged serpent with elevated wings, facing right and dated '1531'; in yellow paint

Signature / Dating

  • Artist's insignia beneath the fork of the tree trunk: winged serpent with elevated wings, facing right and dated '1531'; in yellow paint

Owner
Stiftung Schloss Friedenstein, Gotha
Repository
Stiftung Schloss Friedenstein, Gotha
Location
Gotha
CDA ID
DE_SMG_SG674
FR (1978) Nr.
FR214
Persistent Link
https://lucascranach.org/en/DE_SMG_SG674/

Provenance

  • 1638 recorded in the 'Grünen Schloss' in Weimar
    [Inventar Weimar 1638, fol. 1][1]

  • 1644 recorded in 'Gotha Kaufhaus'
    [Inventar 1644. fol. 30][1]

  • 1656 recorded in the Kunstkammer in Gotha Castle
    [Inventar 1656, fol. 1, No. 6][1]

[1][Exhib. Cat. Gotha 1994, 22]

Exhibitions

Gotha 1959
Weimar 1972, No. 46, Abb. 64
Basel 1974, II, No. 478, Abb. 300
Dresden, 1972, 368-375
Berlin 1983, No. E 17.1 Abb. 306
Gotha 1994
Gotha 2001, No. 1.5
Hamburg 2003, No. 36
Gotha/Kassel 2015, No. 95

Literature

Reference on page Catalogue Number Figure / Plate
Wegmann 2017 21, 25, 26 Fig. 7
AuthorSusanne Wegmann
TitleDer selbstbewusste Maler. Lucas Cranach der Ältere im Selbstbildnis
Publicationin Gunnar Heydenreich, Daniel Görres, Beat Wismer, eds., Lucas Cranach der Ältere. Meister - Marke - Moderne. [Exhib. Cat. Düsseldorf 2017]
Place of PublicationMunich
Year of Publication2017
Pages20-27
Exhib. Cat. Gotha, Kassel 2015 272, 273, 274 95 Pl. p. 274
EditorJulia Carrasco, Justus Lange, Stiftung Schloss Friedenstein, Gotha, Benjamin D. Spira, Timo Trümper
TitleBild und Botschaft. Cranach im Dienst von Hof und Reformation, [Gotha, Herzogliches Museum; Kassel, Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Schloss Wilhelmshöhe]
Place of PublicationHeidelberg
Year of Publication2015
Sandner, Heydenreich, Smith-Contini 2015 135, Fn. 50
AuthorGunnar Heydenreich, Ingo Sandner, Helen Smith-Contini
TitleVeränderungen beim Unterzeichnen in Cranachs Werkstatt und die Arbeitsweise von Sohn Lucas
Publicationin Elke A. Werner, Anne Eusterschulte, Gunnar Heydenreich, eds., Lucas Cranach der Jüngere und die Reformation der Bilder
Place of PublicationMunich
Year of Publication2015
Link https://lucascranach.org/application/files/5215/6337/7366/Heydenreich_Sandner_Smith-Contini_2015_-_Unterzeichnung.pdf
Pages128-141
Exhib. Cat. Frankfurt 2007 202-204 45 pp. 203, 204
EditorBodo Brinkmann
TitleCranach der Ältere, [Frankfurt, Städel Museum, 23 Nov 2007 - 17 Feb 2008]
Place of PublicationOstfildern
Year of Publication2007
Exhib. Cat. Hamburg 2003 50, 175 036 Pl. 36
EditorBucerius Kunst Forum, Werner Schade
TitleLucas Cranach. Glaube, Mythologie und Moderne [Bucerius Kunst Forum, Hamburg]
Place of PublicationOstfildern-Ruit
Year of Publication2003
Exhib. Cat. Gotha 1994 22
EditorStiftung Schloss Friedenstein, Gotha
TitleGotteswort und Menschenbild. Werke von Cranach und seinen Zeitgenossen
Place of PublicationGotha
Year of Publication1994
Exhib. Cat. Kronach 1994 225
EditorClaus Grimm, Johannes Erichsen, Evamaria Brockhoff
TitleLucas Cranach. Ein Maler-Unternehmer aus Franken [Festung Rosenberg, Kronach 17.05 - 21.08.1994; Museum der Bildenden Künste, Leipzig 07.09 - 06.11.1994]
SeriesVeröffentlichungen zur bayerischen Geschichte und Kultur
Volume26
Place of PublicationAugsburg, Coburg
Year of Publication1994
Schade, Schuttwolf 1994 22, 23, 36 1.4 Fig. p. 22, Pl. p. 36
AuthorWerner Schade, Allmuth Schuttwolf
TitleMalerei und Plastik
Publicationin Allmuth Schuttwolf, ed., Gotteswort und Menschenbild. Werke von Cranach und seinen Zeitgenossen, Exhib. Cat. Gotha
Place of PublicationGotha
Year of Publication1994
Pages15-94
Schuttwolf 1994 8 1.4
AuthorAllmuth Schuttwolf
EditorStiftung Schloss Friedenstein, Gotha
TitleGeschichte der Gothaer Kunstsammlungen
Publicationin Allmuth Schuttwolf, ed., Gotteswort und Menschenbild. Werke von Cranach und seinen Zeitgenossen, Exhib. Cat. Gotha
Place of PublicationGotha
Year of Publication1994
Pages7-12
Exhib. Cat. Berlin 1983 E17.1 Fig. p. 306
EditorAltes Museum, Berlin
TitleKunst der Reformationzeit
Place of PublicationBerlin
Year of Publication1983
Friedländer, Rosenberg 1979 112 No. 214 No. 214
AuthorMax J. Friedländer, Jakob Rosenberg
EditorG. Schwartz
TitleDie Gemälde von Lucas Cranach
Place of PublicationBasel, Boston, Stuttgart
Year of Publication1979
Exhib. Cat. Basel 1974/1976 76, 417-418, 578, 581 No. 478 Fig. 300
AuthorDieter Koepplin, Tilman Falk
TitleLukas Cranach. Gemälde, Zeichnungen und Druckgraphik
Volume1, 2
Place of PublicationBasel, Stuttgart
Year of Publication1974
Link http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:bsz:16-diglit-104522
Schade 1974 56-59 Plate 150
AuthorWerner Schade
TitleDie Malerfamilie Cranach
Place of PublicationDresden
Year of Publication1974
Link http://digi.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/diglit/schade1974
Székely 1973 234 f.
AuthorGyörgy Székely
TitleWandlungen in Deutschland im Leben Cranachs
JournalActa historiae artium Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae
Issue19
Year of Publication1973
Pages231-249
Exhib. Cat. Weimar 1972 B No. 46 Plate 64
EditorSchlossmuseum Weimar
TitleLucas Cranach 1472-1553. Ein großer Maler in bewegter Zeit
Place of PublicationWeimar
Year of Publication1972
Schade 1972 C 368-375
AuthorWerner Schade
TitleDas unbekannte Selbstbildnis Cranachs
JournalDezennium
Issue2
Year of Publication1972
Pages368-375
Schenk zu Schweinsberg 1966 41
AuthorEberhard Schenk zu Schweinsberg
TitleDie früheste Fassung des Gemäldes der Ehebrecherin von Lukas Cranach d. Ä.Schenk
JournalKunst in Hessen und am Mittelrhein
Issue6
Year of Publication1966
Pages33-42
Thöne 1965 67
AuthorFriedrich Thöne
TitleLucas Cranach der Ältere
SeriesDie blauen Bücher
Place of PublicationKönigstein i. Taunus
Year of Publication1965
Exhib. Cat. Gotha 1959 No. 11 Fig. 11
EditorSchlossmuseum Gotha
TitleKunstschätze, gerettet, bewahrt, übergeben
Place of PublicationGotha
Year of Publication1959
Rudloff-Hille 1953 A 35
AuthorGertrude Rudloff-Hille
TitleLucas Cranach der Ältere. Katharinenaltar
Place of PublicationDresden
Year of Publication1953
Scheidig 1953 A 135 (?)
AuthorWalther Scheidig
TitleUrkunden zu Cranachs Leben und Schaffen
Publicationin Heinz Lüdecke, ed., Lucas Cranach der Ältere. Der Künstler und seine Zeit
Place of PublicationBerlin
Year of Publication1953
Pages156-177
Zimmermann E. H. 1947 52
AuthorErnst Heinrich Zimmermann
TitleÜber das Bildnis Lucas Cranachs des Älteren in den Uffizien zu Florenz
JournalZeitschrift für Kunstwissenschaft
Issue1
Year of Publication1947
Pages51-53
Lilienfein 1942 81-82 Fig. 116
AuthorHeinrich Lilienfein
TitleLukas Cranach und seine Zeit
Place of PublicationBielefeld
Year of Publication1942
Friedländer, Rosenberg 1932 62 176
AuthorMax J. Friedländer, Jakob Rosenberg
TitleDie Gemälde von Lucas Cranach
Place of PublicationBerlin
Year of Publication1932
Link http://digi.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/diglit/friedlaender1932
Rosenberg 1932 205-206
AuthorJakob Rosenberg
TitleDürer hat Cranach gezeichnet
JournalJahrbuch der Preußischen Kunstsammlungen
Issue53
Year of Publication1932
Pages205-206
Rosenberg 1930 157-160 154, 156
AuthorJakob Rosenberg
TitleEin unbekanntes Selbstbildnis des Lucas Cranach
JournalWallraf-Richartz-Jahrbuch: Jahrbuch für Kunstgeschichte
IssueN. F. 1
Year of Publication1930
Pages157-160
Parthey 1863-1864 680 (Bd. 1) No. 34
AuthorGustav Parthey
TitleDeutscher Bildersaal. Verzeichnis der in Deutschland vorhandenen Oelbilder verstorbener Maler aller Schulen
Volume1, 2
Place of PublicationBerlin
Year of Publication1864
Schuchardt 1851 C 61-62 304
AuthorChristian Schuchardt
TitleLucas Cranach des Aeltern Leben und Werke. Zweiter Theil
Place of PublicationLeipzig
Year of Publication1851
Link http://digi.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/diglit/schuchardt1851bd2
Böhler, Steinmeyer 11
EditorJulius Wilhelm Böhler, Fritz Steinmeyer
Title[Auction Catalogue]
Place of PublicationLucerne, New York, Berlin

Research History / Discussion

'On the left beneath the apple tree there is a servant with a goblet, behind him is a man with a beard (perhaps the artist).., then Bethulien, resembling the town of Eisenach with the Wartburg' [Aldenhoven 1890, No. 334]

[Exhib. Cat. Gotha 1994, 22]

'This painting and its pendant piece are of great importance for the study of Cranach, because the inclusion of a selfportrait, the figure on the left edge who appears to point at the viewer, allows the assumption that it is a work by Cranach himself. The quality of the work is comparible with other works selected from this period. On the other hand it is similar to the signed works of the elder son Hans (who must have contributed considerably to the workshop activity at this time), therefore even in this case it is not possible to distinguish between father and son.'

[Friedländer, Rosenberg 1932, 62 No. 176]

Cranach and his workshop depicted the subject of Judith in a whole range of paintings and with the exclusion of the two panels in Gotha all showed only a single half-length or full-length figure. As such the rich narrative embellishment, that continues in the background is an exception within Cranach's oeuvre. The self-portrait of the artist at the right edge of the painting next to the guests at the table is also exceptional. His looks out of the image at the viewer and points with his left hand at events, a gesture that is repeated by a blue clothed follower of Holofernes on the opposite side of the table. Self-confidently he reveals himself as the creator of the art work. The serpent insignia with the date 1531 was added above the portrait on the trunk of the apple tree. A motif , which as a symbol of knowledge, was probably not chosen without reason. The artist's self-portrait is similar to the panel in Schloss Stolzenfels that was probably painted in the same year. [...]

In addition to the positive connotations associated with the virtuous heroine the inclusion of an apple tree refers indirectly to Judith's seductive power. Cranach warns the viewer of the danger through the gesture made by his selfportrait and as such situates the story of Judith within the courtly context of the 'Weibermacht'. [...]

[Timo Trümper, in Exhib. Cat. Gotha, Kassel 2015, 272, 273]

'Selfportrait 1. beside the tree is the link between a selfportrait from 1508 (=Alphäusselbstbildnis) in the 'Holy Family', Vienna, Academy (of Art) and the portrait of the artist as an elderly man in the Uffizi, Florence from 1550'

[Rosenberg 1930, 157-160, Figs. 154,156]

  • Judith dining with Holofernes, 1531

Images

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Technical studies

04. 2010Technical examination / Scientific analysis

  • Infrared reflectography
  • irr

Underdrawing

DESCRIPTION

Tools/Materials:

- fluid black pigmented medium and brush in two stages, beginning with dilute medium

Type/Ductus:

- freehand underdrawing

- thin lines combined with broader lines; occasional washes

Function:

- binding for the final painted version; lines delineate contours and describe the essential details, thinner very dark lines describe the essential facial features; occasional representation of volume with grey washes

Deviations:

- only minor alterations in the painted version to clearly define form; in the middle distance a cart visible in the underdrawing was omitted in the painted version

INTERPRETATION

Attribution:

- Lucas Cranach the Elder?

[Smith, Sandner, Heydenreich, cda 2012]

  • photographed by Gunnar Heydenreich
  • photographed by Ingo Sandner

1974Technical examination / Scientific analysis

  • X-radiography
  • x_radiograph

Conservation History

Date1998 - 02. 2000

  • conservation
  • conservation

Summary of the treatment report (see pdf for the complete version in German):

  • small split

  • some discoloured retouches

  • yellowed varnish

Summary of the treatment report (see pdf for the complete version in German):

  • old, discloured retouches were reintegrated
  • conservation treatment by Angela Möller
  • photographed by D. Demme

Citing from the Cranach Digital Archive

Entry with author
<author's name>, 'Judith dining with Holofernes', <title of document, data entry or image>. [<Date of document or image>], in: Cranach Digital Archive, https://lucascranach.org/en/DE_SMG_SG674/ (Accessed {{dateAccessed}})
Entry with no author
'Judith dining with Holofernes', <title of document, data entry or image>. [<Date of document, entry or image>], in: Cranach Digital Archive, https://lucascranach.org/en/DE_SMG_SG674/ (Accessed {{dateAccessed}})

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