Ca' Pesaro

Gustav Klimt

(Baumgarten, 1862 – Vienna, 1918)

Judith II (Salomè)


oil on canvas

176 × 46 cm / 68.64 × 17.94 in

Dimensions & Weight:
176 × 46 cm
Art description

At the 9th Venice Biennale, in 1910, the master of the Viennese Secession Gustav Klimt

presented a personal room with 22 works. The committee in charge of acquisitions for

Ca' Pesaro purchases Judith II for the sum of 9,900 lire; the work will become an icon

and symbol of the Museum's collection.

Preceded by a 1901 version, Judith I, held in Vienna, the Ca' Pesaro masterpiece

represents the heroine of the Israelite people who, to save the city of Betulia from the

siege and prevent the invasion of Judea, beheads Holofernes, a general of

Nabucodonosor, king of the Assyrians. Judith is depicted in the act of extracting the

head of Holofernes from the saddlebag to show it to the besieged Betulians. For a long

time the subject was confused with the character of Salomé, protagonist of the killing of


John the Baptist, despite the iconographic differences that differentiate the two biblical


The notable decrease of the golden component in Judith II compared to the works of

Klimt's golden period, symbolize the passage to a new style; here the biblical heroine is

a modern, sensual and tragic woman, dressed with arabesques and geometric marks,

while the vertical aspect of the representation is accentuated by two flat lateral frames in

gilded wood.

We use cookies to optimize our website and services.Read more
This website uses Google Analytics (GA4) as a third-party analytical cookie in order to analyse users’ browsing and to produce statistics on visits; the IP address is not “in clear” text, this cookie is thus deemed analogue to technical cookies and does not require the users’ consent.