It has been announced that painting discovered two years ago in Toulouse is (most probably) really the long lost Caravaggio's original second version of Judith beheading Holofernes.
Judith beheading Holofernes, 1st Version, 1598/99
The first version of the paining from 1598/99 remains to be one of the most violent and naturalistic rendering of the scene. It is also considered to be revolutionary not only for its dramatic realism, but more for psychological presence of the characters. Caravaggio followed 16th century theory of contrapposto (contrast of age, sex, and appearance) in the painting - his idealised Judith is young, beautiful and very Feminine, realistic Holofernes is middle aged and virile and Judith's maid, Abra, is elderly and wheather-beaten to caricature. Judith seems to be emotionless and fully focused on the act and somehow mysterious. Holofernes, still alive, in pain and surprised, screams in protest. Abra eagerly awaiting the head.
Judith beheading Holofernes, 2nd Version, 1604/05
Judith in second version is still calm, facing us and looking to our eyes, and both, Abra and Holofernes, are looking to Her, Holofernes in horror, but Abra with endless admiration. Whole composition seems to be more compact and coherent, although Judith herself lost Her angelic and guileless face, She is now more experienced Woman.
Luis Finson, around 1607
Fore more then 300 years this later version has been known only from copy of Flemish painter Luis Finson, who reportedly owned the painting in 1607. The painting was found at the attic of a private house in France in April 2014, but kept in secret until now. In only came to light a couple of days ago. The first version is currently on display in Rome, hopefully we will be able to see the second version soon also.
There is a similar reluctance about taking me into the house as there would be about having a large, shaggy dog in the house. he will come into the room with wet paws - and then, he is so lonely and shaggy. he will get in everyone's way. And he barks so loudly. In short - it's a dirty animal... i am that dog. (van Gogh, 1883)