|Judith Slaying Holofernes|
Judith Slaying Holofernes is a 1620-1621 painting by Artemisia Gentileschi, now in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. Like her earlier version of the work, Judith is thought to be a self-portrait. This connection transpires not just from their shared gender, but also from Artemisia's disturbing experience at the hands of her father's colleague, Agostino Tassi. When Artemisia was only seventeen, her neighbor--an older woman named Tuzia--let Tassi into Artemisia's home through an adjoining door. There, he raped his student, while Artemisia called out for help. Artemisia's father, Orazio Gentileschi, sued Agostino Tassi for taking his only daughter's virginity.
During the trial, Artemisia recounts the altercation with Tassi and her effort to defend herself, stating "After he had done his business he got off of me. When I saw myself free, I went to the table drawer and took a knife and moved toward Agostino, saying, 'I'd like to kill you with this knife because you have dishonored me.'"
In this later version of Judith and Holofernes, a detail was added by Artemisia that supports the idea that Artemisia identified with Judith. On the bracelet Judith wears is a depiction of Artemis--a Goddess who guarded her virginity carefully against those who tried to dishonor or rape her; those that threatened this met a violent end.
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