story of judith and holofernes
She sings a song of praise to God and praise of herself, dropping in more than one feminist line.
That’ll preach. Imagine coloring that page in Sunday school as a little girl.
While many of the above paintings resulted from private patronage, important paintings and cycles were made also by church commission and were made to promote a new allegorical reading of the story—that Judith defeats Protestant heresy. This is the period of the Counter-Reformation, and many images (including a fresco cycle in the Lateran Palace commissioned by Pope Sixtus V and designed by Giovanni Guerra and Cesare Nebbia) “proclaim her rhetorical appropriation by the Catholic or Counter-Reformation Church against the ‘heresies’ of Protestantism. Judith saved her people by vanquishing an adversary she described as not just one heathen but ‘all unbelievers’ (Jdt 13:27); she thus stood as an ideal agent of anti-heretical propaganda.” 
The account of the beheading of Holofernes by Judith is given in the deuterocanonical Book of Judith, and is the subject of many paintings and sculptures from the Renaissance and Baroque periods. In the story, Judith, a beautiful widow, is able to enter the tent of Holofernes because of his desire for her. Holofernes was an Assyrian general who was about to destroy Judith’s home, the city of Bethulia. Overcome with drink, he passes out and is decapitated by Judith; his head is taken away in a basket (often depicted as being carried by an elderly female servant).
Book of Judith, apocryphal work excluded from the Hebrew and Protestant biblical canons but included in the Septuagint (Greek version of the Hebrew Bible) and accepted in the Roman canon.
The work’s historicity is suspect because of numerous historical and chronological errors. Some scholars have suggested that the existence of similar accounts in the Bible (e.g., Jael in the Book of Judges) and in the interpretive stories of the Midrash point to an early, common source (perhaps from the 6th century bce ) now lost. Others, however, view the story as sheer fiction and attribute it to an anonymous Palestinian Jew who wrote shortly after the end of the Maccabean revolt (2nd century bce ). According to this view, Judith was meant to be the female counterpart of Judas Maccabeus, leader of the revolt, and the book, discussing a contemporary situation in the guise of an ancient historical setting, was written to encourage the Judaean Jews in the uneasy period of independence following the wars precipitated by the Maccabean uprising.
Like Judith, the Queen had to face the menace of a foreign king who had a tendency to destroy the temples of other religions. Both women were widows whose strategical and diplomatic skills helped in the defeat of the invader.  Both stories seem to be set at a time when the temple had recently been rededicated, which is the case after Judas Maccabee killed Nicanor and defeated the Seleucids. The territory of Judean occupation includes the territory of Samaria, something which was possible in Maccabean times only after John Hyrcanus reconquered those territories. Thus, the presumed Sadducee author of Judith would desire to honor the great (Pharisee) Queen who tried to keep both Sadducees and Pharisees united against the common menace. [ citation needed ]
Oziah, governor of Bethulia; together with Cabri and Carmi, he rules over Judith’s city.
But apart from the often (over)emphasized biographical significance, she also makes great strides in technique and vision. She has a greater command of physics and internal tension than her predecessor. The weight of her bodies is more ‘felt’ than Caravaggio’s. The spurt of Holofernes’ blood in her later painting follows Galileo’s new mathematical laws of parabolic motion. The fluid mechanics of the blood staining and running over the sheets is better realized. This painting fuses art and science. Caravaggio paints inward. Artemisia paints towards the future.
The Book of Judith’s inclusion in the Bible is a cause of some ecumenical dispute. Though it is included in the Catholic Old Testament, it does not appear in the Dead Sea Scrolls nor the Hebrew Canon. There are those who would sever it from the Old Testament proper. The Protestant Bible removes the story from the Testaments, but it appears in the Apocrypha — a sinuous, incomplete cut.