Judith at the Table of Holofernes

Lucas Cranach the Elder, Judith at the Table of Holofernes (detail), 1531. Oil on canvas, Schlossmuseum, Gotha, Germany.

Lucas Cranach the Elder was a close friend of Martin Luther and did the illustrations for Luther’s German Bible. As a symbol of resistance to Catholic authority, Judith was a popular subject among Reformation painters. This work illustrates Jdt 12:17, Judith dining with the enemy warlord Holofernes. Cranach set the scene in a German landscape, with the city of Wittenberg in the background. Three artists from this time—Albrecht Dürer, Matthias Grünewald, and Lucas Cranach the Elder—are remembered in Protestant liturgical calendars: April 6 in the Lutheran calendar and Aug. 5 in the Episcopal calendar.

Lucas Cranach the Elder, Judith at the Table of Holofernes (detail). Oil on canvas, 1531.

A general of Nebuchadnezzar who attacked Israel, according to the Book of Judith, but was ultimately beheaded by Judith.

German cleric usually considered to have formally launched the Protestant Reformation with his list of 95 "theses" itemizing grievances against the Roman Catholic Church, especially its sale of indulgences claimed to absolve individuals' sins.

A sixteenth-century movement in Europe that questioned the authority of the Roman Catholic Church.

Jdt 12:17

17So Holofernes said to her, “Have a drink and be merry with us!”

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