Here are three of the most notable works by French painter William Laparra …
… and here is Judith.
Can we safely assume that these were preparatory works to a more complete composition of Judith showing Holofernes’ head to the Bethulians? And can I note the similarities to composition to “The Pool of Bethesda”?
Oddly, at age 22 Laparra won the Prix de Rome – the French scholarship of the Academy of Fine Arts for young artists to train in Italy- with the painting of Bethesda. The sketches of Bethulia are not dated, but the prone figure in the lower left is remarkably similar to Laparra’s winning artwork. Thus it appears that at some point in his career he planned to retry the composition – moving it from New Testament with an angel as the central figure to Old Testament with Judith as the center of attention.
I am so disappointed it was never completed. The implications are that Judith would have been a beauty. And possibly would have sported an elaborate turban.