Judith mit dem Haupt des Holofernes

Bayerisches Nationalmuseum


In the Old Testament, the heroine Judith saved the inhabitants of her hometown, by killing the enemy general Holofernes while he is asleep. Contrary to the traditional narrative, Meit depicts Judith in the nude. Judith’s pensive gaze onto the cut-off head of Holofernes shows that this depiction is not a superficially erotic interpretation of the main character. Meit rather connects his rendition of Judith with an innovative view of nudity, which receives a positive moral valuation. This interpretation is underpinned also by treatises of the time, in which physical female beauty is cited as a sign of her moral integrity. The signature engraved in the base indicates Meit’s artistic self-confidence, whose valuable small-size sculptures were created especially for the art collections of his patrons.