ustav klimt’s interpretation of the story of judith decapitating holofernes
For analysis and explanation of other important pictures from the Renaissance, see: Famous Paintings Analyzed (1250-1800).
Samson and Delilah (1609-10) by Rubens.
National Gallery, London.
In 1997, Russian artists Vitaliy Komar and Alexander Melamed painted a Judith on the Red Square that “casts Stalin in the Holofernes role, conquered by a young Russian girl who contemplates his severed head with a mixture of curiosity and satisfaction”.  In 1999, American artist Tina Blondell rendered Judith in watercolour; her I’ll Make You Shorter by a Head  is explicitly inspired by Klimt’s Judith I, and part of a series of paintings called Fallen Angels. 
Artists have mainly chosen one of two possible scenes (with or without the servant): the decapitation, with Holofernes supine on the bed, or the heroine holding or carrying the head, often assisted by her maid.
The bronze for the statue was cast in eleven parts to make the gilding easier. The sculpture was crafted in the round and has four distinct faces, providing the viewer with 360 degrees of intensely inspiring sculpture.
The overwhelming tone of the statue is one of strength, fearlessness and power. Judith stands triumphant over the slain Holofernes, a sword in her right hand raised over her shoulder as if about to strike once more.
Rokitansky was later elected to parliament and became a spokesman for science and a public intellectual. His belief that you have to go deep below the skin to really understand what’s going on became the leitmotif that guided Freud, Schnitzler, and the three Viennese modernist artists. Don’t immediately believe what the patient thinks his illness is about: you have to dig deeper into the unconscious mental process. Freud developed psychoanalysis as a way to understand and explain the nature of unconscious drives.
This cross-pollination of scientific and artistic ideas was carried further by Klimt’s presence in the salon of Berta Zuckerkandl, whose husband, Emil Zuckerkandl, was a great anatomist and pathologist who worked with Rokitansky. Berta was an art historian, an art critic, and an enthusiastic supporter of Klimt. The Zuckerkandls introduced Klimt to biology, and he became fascinated with it. He read Darwin, attended Rokitansky’s lectures and dissections, looked through the microscope, and began to incorporate images of cells and other structures into his paintings. The oval shapes you see as decorative elements in some of the paintings were meant to represent ova, for instance, and rectangular shapes were his symbols for sperm.
Jans Sanders van Hemessen, Judith with the Head of Holophernes, ca. 1540. Image via Wikimedia Commons.
Giorgio Vasari, Judith and Holofernes, ca. 1554. Image via Wikimedia Commons.