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Palazzo Barberini verified

Roma, Lazio, IT closed Visit museumarrow_right_alt

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Michelangelo Merisi, detto Caravaggio - Judith Beheading Holofernes
fullscreen
Michelangelo Merisi, detto Caravaggio - Narcissus
fullscreen
Michelangelo Merisi, detto Caravaggio - Saint Francis in Meditation
fullscreen
Raffaello Sanzio - La Fornarina
fullscreen
Hans Holbein il Giovane - Portrait of Henry VIII
fullscreen
Gian Lorenzo Bernini - Portrait of Pope Urban VIII Barberini - Paintiong
fullscreen
Agnolo di Cosimo, detto il Bronzino - Portrait of Stefano IV Colonna
fullscreen
Pietro da Cortona - The Triumph of Divine Providence and the Fulfilment of its Purposes under Pope Urban VIII
fullscreen
Gian Lorenzo Bernini - Square Staircase
fullscreen
Francesco Borromini - Helicoidal Staircase
fullscreen
Andrea Sacchi - Allegory of Divine Wisdom
fullscreen
Annibale Carracci - Portable Altarpiece with “Pietà” and Saints
fullscreen
Domínikos Theotokópoulos, detto El Greco - Baptism of Christ
fullscreen
Piero di Cosimo - Saint Mary Magdalene
fullscreen
Gian Lorenzo Bernini - Portrait of Urban VIII
fullscreen
Guido Reni - Portrait of Beatrice Cenci
fullscreen
Lorenzo Lotto - The Mystic Marriage of Saint Catherine with Saints
fullscreen
Giovanni Baronzio - Episodes of the Passion of Christ
fullscreen
Pompeo Batoni - Portrait of Abbondio Rezzonico
fullscreen
Filippo Lippi - Annunciation
fullscreen
Portrait of Urban VIII - Sculpture
fullscreen
Giulio Romano - Madonna with Child (Madonna Hertz)
fullscreen
Jacopino del Conte - New artwork
fullscreen
Giovanni Antonio Bazzi, detto Sodoma - Mystical wedding of Saint Catherine of Alexandria
fullscreen
Giovanni Lanfranco - The suicide of Cleopatra
fullscreen
Simone Cantarini - Portrait of Cardinal Antonio Barberini
Michelangelo Merisi, detto Caravaggio - Judith Beheading Holofernes
Michelangelo Merisi, detto Caravaggio - Narcissus
Michelangelo Merisi, detto Caravaggio - Saint Francis in Meditation
Raffaello Sanzio - La Fornarina
Hans Holbein il Giovane - Portrait of Henry VIII
Gian Lorenzo Bernini - Portrait of Pope Urban VIII Barberini - Paintiong
Agnolo di Cosimo, detto il Bronzino - Portrait of Stefano IV Colonna
Pietro da Cortona - The Triumph of Divine Providence and the Fulfilment of its Purposes under Pope Urban VIII
Gian Lorenzo Bernini - Square Staircase
Francesco Borromini - Helicoidal Staircase
Andrea Sacchi - Allegory of Divine Wisdom
Annibale Carracci - Portable Altarpiece with “Pietà” and Saints
Domínikos Theotokópoulos, detto El Greco - Baptism of Christ
Piero di Cosimo - Saint Mary Magdalene
Gian Lorenzo Bernini - Portrait of Urban VIII
Guido Reni - Portrait of Beatrice Cenci
Lorenzo Lotto - The Mystic Marriage of Saint Catherine with Saints
Giovanni Baronzio - Episodes of the Passion of Christ
Pompeo Batoni - Portrait of Abbondio Rezzonico
Filippo Lippi - Annunciation
Portrait of Urban VIII - Sculpture
Giulio Romano - Madonna with Child (Madonna Hertz)
Jacopino del Conte - New artwork
Giovanni Antonio Bazzi, detto Sodoma - Mystical wedding of Saint Catherine of Alexandria
Giovanni Lanfranco - The suicide of Cleopatra
Simone Cantarini - Portrait of Cardinal Antonio Barberini

Other works on display

Description

Three figures with a red drape in the background: just a few elements, yet capable of orchestrating an utterly realistic theater of contrasts: darkness and light, age and youth, life and death, strength and frailty. Judith is one of the heroines of the Old Testament, a young Jewish widow who saved her people from the besieging Assyrian army. She pretended to ally herself with the enemy and slew their general Holofernes with her own hands, after being welcomed to his camp with a festive banquet. The iconography had been common since the 1400s, yet it had never been depicted with such harsh and spectacular realism. Here we see scimitar plunged deep into Holofernes’ throat. Life is still coursing through Holofernes’ contracted hands and limbs, though not for much longer. The general’s mouth gapes in a strangled cry, and we see the spurting blood, as if Caravaggio wished to freeze the flashing instants of an act that cannot be halted with the gaze. The light falls from the top left, striking Judith’s slender figure in full: her forehead is furrowed, as if seeking to summon all her strength, both physical and spiritual, to overcome her revulsion at the act she feels compelled to perform. Her maidservant Abra, a young woman in the original story, is here a wrinkled old woman with hallucinated eyes, bearing witness to the horror that the viewer feels before such violence. The painting, dated to around 1599, is important stylistically and thematically: it is Caravaggio’s first historical work, and marks the beginning of the phase of strongly contrasting light and darkness. The work was commissioned by Ottavio Costa, a banker, who was so enamored of it that he stipulated its inalienability in his will. However, all trace of the painting was lost for several centuries and it was only found in 1951 by the restorer Pico Cellini, almost by chance, in the possession of a family and reported to the art critic Roberto Longhi – a dramatic turn of events highly appropriate to the theatrical nature of the painting. Twenty years later it was acquired by the Italian state and exhibited in Palazzo Barberini.

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