Focus Exhibition


Two paintings depicting different versions of the story of Judith and Holofernes from the Old Testament Apocrypha—one by Italian Baroque artist Artemisia Gentileschi and the other by American contemporary artist Kehinde Wiley—will be on view at the Kimbell for a limited time. Strikingly different renditions of the same subject realized 400 years apart, the paintings will allow visitors to reflect on contemporary issues through a historical lens.  

Gentileschi’s Judith and Holofernes is both a powerful statement of her skill as an artist—which gained her much recognition during her lifetime—and a statement of the personal and professional adversity overcome by a young woman who succeeded at establishing a painting practice at a time when the field was almost entirely male dominated. 

Wiley is best known for his monumental portraits of young Black men and women placed in historical poses and settings appropriated from Old Master paintings. He consistently addresses issues of race within art history while also commenting on contemporary culture, identity, power, and inequality.

Admission is free.


Depicting the Old Testament story of Judith and Holofernes, Judith is cutting off the head of Holofernes. A woman stands next to her to hold Holofernes down. The painting is dark with dramatic lighting, painted in the Italian Baroque style.

Artemisia Gentileschi (Rome, 1593–Naples, ca. 1653), Judith and Holofernes, c. 1612–17, oil on canvas. 159 x 126 cm. Inv. Q 378. Napoli, Museo e Real Bosco di Capodimonte

Depicting the Old Testament story of Judith and Holofernes, Judith is holding the head of Holofernes in one hand and a sword in the other. Judith is depicted as a Black woman in a blue dress and her hair in an elaborate updo. Holofernes is depicted as a white woman with brown, wavy hair in a ponytail. The background is bright floral print.

Kehinde Wiley (American, born 1977), Judith and Holofernes, 2012, oil on linen, purchased with funds from Mr. and Mrs. Gordon Hanes in honor of Dr. Emily Farnham, by exchange, and with funds from Peggy Guggenheim, by exchange, and from the North Carolina State Art Society (Robert F. Phifer Bequest), 2012. © Kehinde Wiley. Courtesy of the North Carolina Museum of Art and Sean Kelly, New York

The exhibition is organized by the Museo e Real Bosco di Capodimonte, the North Carolina Museum of Art, the Kimbell Art Museum, and The Museum Box. 


Promotional support is provided by American Airlines, NBC 5, and PaperCity.

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