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Judith beheading Holofernes

Painting, 1612, 199×162.6 cm

Description of the artwork «Judith beheading Holofernes»

One of the most impressive paintings of the Baroque era "Judith decapitation Holofernes" Of Artemisia Gentileschi – in strength and naturalistic performance surpasses even the painting by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio. Probably, it's not just that Artemisia was incredibly talented as a painter, but in the fact that the basis of the picture on the hard-won, deeply personal experience.

The first version* of the painting "Judith decapitation Holofernes" was painted by Artemisia during those seven months, which lasted a scandalous trial between the family of Gentileschi and Florentine painter Agostino Tassi. The latter was accused of rape. The rape victim was his student and beloved daughter of his companion Orazio Gentileschi 17-year-old Artemesia. The story of their relationship is ambiguous and is still not entirely clear. In the last few decades the interest is only growing. About of Artemisia written several novels, and about their relationship with Tassi in the 1997 made a feature film "Artemisia", where the main character played by Italian actress Valentina Worms. The movie romanticizes the story of Artemisia and Tassi, interprets it as love that happened under adverse circumstances. And the documents say about confessions of Artemisia in court: it is hoped that Tassi would marry her.

But the fact is, regardless, did Artemisia love and attraction to her rapist, is that she was brutally deceived. Tassi had concealed from her that he is married, and that married after accusations of rape, and Artemisia went to many victims (of torture, public gynecological examination) to prove their own innocence. The court has exposed her to public shame, and made to suffer. So it is no wonder that under the guise of Holofernes she is portrayed in the picture of her lover Agostino, and in the image Judith – the.

Life Artemesia will choose for pictures of scenes where a woman is forced either to tolerate violence, or some way to deal with it. The old Testament Susanna, on her picture dirty tolerate harassment of elders. Jael, a woman from the tribe Kanaev, drives an iron stake through the body of the enemy General Sisera. The Roman heroine Lucrezia decides to commit suicide after experiences of violence. Judith and her maid is an accomplice more than once in his career Gentileschi will hold the severed head of Holofernes (1, 2).

Judith was a Jewish woman who managed to save his people from the attack of superior forces of the Assyrians. The plan was simple: a young and handsome widow, having lulled the vigilance of the guards, came to the room of the Assyrian commander Holofernes, and when he fell asleep, decapitated him.

Artemisia paints a picture, using the technique of Caravaggio (it is called tenebroso or chiaroscuro), which taught her father, who worked with the rebel genius of light and shade on the decoration of Roman palaces. Conditional, uncompromising, dark background are the figures of the three actors put to death of Holofernes, lying on the bed, Judith and her maid. Unnaturally bright lateral light relief vyleplivaet figure. The sharp contrasts make the scene emotional and dramatic.

But there are important differences from Caravaggio. First, the art: Caravaggio, for example, is very conditional transfers streams of blood, bryznula from the neck of Holofernes, in his picture they resemble a beam of red laces. Artemisia's supposed to be spread on the sheet blood with frightening accuracy. Another difference from Caravaggio – in the emotional system. Have Gentileschi Judith stunningly cold-blooded, while a Caravaggio she can't cope with their emotions – disgust and fear.

Researchers agree that interpretation of Artemisia even more deadly: her Judith Holofernes rips, like a rabbit.

* Artemisia Gentileschi repeatedly repeated the painting "Judith decapitation Holofernes", including portrait of Cosimo II Medici and other wealthy Florentines. One of the versions now kept in Florence, in the Uffizi (and exhibited in the same room with the works of Caravaggio). Probably, this is the author's copy, which was painted for Cosimo de ' Medici.

Author: Anna Yesterday
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About the artwork

Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Mythological scene

Style of art: Baroque

Technique: Oil

Materials: Canvas

Date of creation: 1612

Size: 199×162.6 cm

Artwork in selections: 23 selections

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