Judith beheading Holofernes
Peter Paul Rubens


Cornelis Galle (I)


Cornelis Galle (I)


Production date
1610 – 1611
Object number
379 mm x 552 mm

This scene from the Bible focuses on the heroic Judith. She saved her people by getting the cruel Assyrian general Holofernes drunk in his army tent and then cutting off his head. The painting on which this print is based disappeared. It may have been a work from his youth that was part of the collection of the Prince of Wales, the later English King Charles I, which Rubens mentioned in a letter dated 13 September 1621. The Great Judith as this print is also called is not only Galle’s masterpiece, it is also the very first print for which Rubens personally took the initiative. It does not yet have a privilege, a kind of patent that gave him the sole right to disseminate his composition in the form of a print, because he did not have it yet. It does, however, have a dedication to Jan Woverius, a friend who together with Rubens was the pupil of the philosopher Justus Lipsius. Rubens promised Woverius to dedicate his first print to the latter. A preliminary study for this engraving made by Cornelis Galle and retouched by Rubens is in the Nationalmuseet in Stockholm (Sweden).

CC BY (Creative Commons 4.0)

Other artworks of this artist

Christ on the Cross
Nicolaas Rockox
Raising of the Cross
The adoration of the shephers
Triptych with the resurrection of Christ
Assumption of the virgin
Descent from the cross
Design Frontispiece of Lyricorum Libri IV
The Flagellation of Christ
Saint Francis Receiving the Stigmata
The prodigal son
 Christ on the Cross, so-called "Le coup de lance"
The baptism of Christ
 Gaspard Gevartius
 The Last Communion of Francis of Assisi
Triumphal Chariot of Kallo
Venus Frigida
The Lady Chapel, or the Burial Chapel of the Houtappel Family
The Incredulity of Thomas