PIER FRANCESCO DI JACOPO FOSCHI
(Florence 1502 – 1567)
Judith and Holofernes
Oil on panel
35⅞ x 27¾ inches
(91 x 70.5 cm)
Private Collection, Germany
Originally taught by Andrea del Sarto in his Florentine workshop, Pier Francesco di Jacopo Foschi’s work shows the influence of his teacher and various Italian Masters working at the time. Between the late 1520’s and early 1530’s, Foschi was alternatively influenced by Fra Bartolomeo, Pontormo, Franciabiagio and later especially Sogliani, whose style he heavily assimilated into his own. It was from Sogliani that he learned the monumental typology of figures, while it was from the works of Franciabiagio that Foschi learned to create a luminosity in his paintings which allow figures to emerge with strength and force that almost leaps off the panel.
The present painting, of Judith and Holofernes, painted in oil on panel, and almost certainly executed between 1544 – 46, is a powerful example of the monumentality and luminosity that imbues so much of Foschi’s work. A dramatic illustration of the biblical story of the Jewish heroine and her triumph over the foreign aggressor, Foschi’s Judith and Holofernes illustrates the dramatic apex of the epic tale as Judith administers the final blow to Holofernes’ neck and saves the lives and livelihoods of her people. The Assyrian general lies prone, his pose loudly echoing that of one of the figures in Michelangelo’s tombs.