Judith with the head of Holofernes, painted by Jacopo, Cafaggiolo, ca 1510
Juidth with the head of Holofernes riding in a rocky landscape carrying a banner quartered white and red and accompanied by her servant, Aphra, behind them hang a curtain and a trophy of arms. Round the edge, a narrow line of bead-ornament.
Judith of bethulia (O.T. Apocrypha) was a beautiful Israelite widow who saved her besieged town by decapitating the Assyrian general Holofernes with a sword, while he was drunk. In the Renaissance she was regarded as an example of female heroism. During the Florentine Republic the statue of Judith by Donatello became a symbol of the victory of the people against tyranny; in 1495 it was taken from a garden in Palazzo Medici, placed in Piazza della Signoria and adopted as heroine of the newly born, and short lived, Florentine Republic. This important documentary dish, painted in the vicinity of Florence, in the Medici villa of Cafaggiolo, is the only known signed piece by the talented painter Jacopo. Works attributed to him are unrivalled masterpieces of early narrative painted maiolica.Very little is known about him.
Location: World Ceramics, room 145, case 27, shelf 2