The Beheading of Holofernes by Rhiannon Rosenbaum

Here's a fun question. Can you identify which of these versions of the Beheading of Holofernes was painted by a women and which one was painted by a man?  And what's your reasoning for assigning which gender to which painting?

 Many, many painters have done their own version of this scene from the story of Judith and Holofernes found in Bible in Judith 13:9. It's a rather gruesome story to be sure but a heroic story none-the-less. The story goes something like this...

Nebuchadnezzar sends his general Holofernes to Judith's hometown punish the Israelite's for their disobedience. Holofernes and the Persian army besiege the city and ransack the Israelite temples, they cut them off from their food and water supply and kill many of their people. Judith hears of this and hatches a plan to save her people. She was very beautiful and used her beauty to seduce Holofernes. Judith waits until he's drunk and asleep and then she cuts his head off. The towns people then took the head and put it on the main town wall as a warning to Holoferness troops and In this way she saved herself and all of those in her town.

I encourage you (after you've submitted your guess of course) to look up the other paintings that have been done of this story. Some are much better than others but these two in particular are interesting because of all the ways that they contrast with one another. What are your observations?

I'll revile the correct answer on Friday May 18th!