Artibus et Historiae no. 44 (XXII)

2001, ISSN 0391-9064

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ROGER J. CRUM - Severing the Neck of Pride: Donatello's Judith and Holofernes and the Recollection of Albizzi Shame in Medicean Florence

Donatello's Judith and Holofernes was most probably positioned in the garden of the Medici Palace shortly after the palace was completed in the mid to late 1450s. Although rarely noted in the literature, the completion and decoration of the Medici Palace in the 1450s corresponded to a period in which the Medici and their political party struggled to maintain political unity and, in essence, their united control of the city. This article examines this conjunction of artistic and political events by analizing Donatello's statue in relation to the theme of pride that is central to the iconography of the Judith narrative, is at the center of the inscription that once accompanied the statue, and is clearly informative of political circumstances of the 1450s and memory of the Albizzi-Medici struggle of the 1420s and early 1430s. That earlier period became an important period of reference for the Medici and their regime as they worked to maintain their tenuous unity in the 1450s.

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