Detail, The birth of Venus, c 1484, Tempera on wood.  Ufizzi Gallery Florence

Detail, Primavera, c 1482, Grease tempera on wood.  Ufizzi Gallery Florence

The Discovery of the Body of Holofernes; The Return of Judith
1470-2, Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence.


Previously part of a precious diptych with a carved walnut frame, these panels were documented in1584 as a gift from the collector Ridolfo Sirigatti to the Grand Duchess Dianca Cappello, second wife of Francesco I. The paintings were then passed to her son, Don Antonio de' Medici who lived in the Casino in Via Larga from 1588.

Judith, a Biblical heroin, is the model of feminine virtue and of justice bringing victory to the weak. Another two early paintings, they show the influence of Pollaiolo in the integration of land and figure, but are original in the combinations of colours and the use of light to illuminate clothing as well as the bedsheet on which Holofernes sprawls.

(Text adapted from Gloria Fossi, Uffizi Gallery: The Official Guide, all of the works, 1999)