Sebastiano Luciani, Judith, circa 1525. Oil on canvas, destroyed, formerly in the Gemaldegalerie, Berlin, Germany.

Sebastiano Luciani (1485–1547) was a Venetian-trained artist who moved to Rome in 1511 at the behest of the Pope’s banker, Agostino Chigi. In Rome, Luciani became a protégé and eventual friend of Michelangelo. In 1531, following his return to Rome after the 1527 sacking of the city, Pope Clement VII awarded Luciani the title Keeper of the Papal Seals and gave him the name Sebastiano del Piombo. In this painting, the Jewish heroine Judith, dressed in 16th-century clothing, stares dreamily over her shoulder, her hands crossing her body and resting calmly on Holofernes’ head. Luciani’s Judith is one of hundreds of works of art from the Kaiser Friedrich Museum, now the Gemaldegalerie in Berlin, destroyed during World War II.

Sebastiano Luciani, Judith, 16th century.

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

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