Saraceni painted the popular subject of Judith with the head of Holofernes twice in his career, in two different compositions; both exist in numerous versions by the artist and his workshop. The composition which the present painting follows shows Judith upright and turning to look straight at the viewer, with the head in her left hand and a sword in her right. Her maid is just beyond her shoulder but still quite forward in the composition, lit brightly; both women wear colorful clothing, Judith with a jeweled hairpiece and brooches. The colorful drapery is depicted in a classical and elegant manner, with the fabric in Judith's hair blowing beyond her. The prime version, now in a private collection in Madrid1 was completed in the early 1610s, just after the death of Caravaggio.
1. Oil on copper, 33 by 26 cm., see M.G. Aurigemma, Carlo Saraceni 1579-1620, Rome 2013, pp. 235-237, reproduced p. 236.