The ARTistry of ARTemisia.....
Judith and Her Maidservant Florence, Palazzo Pitti, c.
Soon after her first version of Judith beheading Holofernes, in 1614, Artemisia painted her initial rendition of Judith and Her Maidservant. This dramatic painting portrays a few moments after Judith has beheaded Holofernes, and stuffed his head into a basket. This remarkable painting is notable not only for its harmonious use of color, but also for the contrasting dramatic tension of a moment frozen in time, as Judith and Arba respond to the threat of a sound as they prepare to escape the camp. Like actors in the theater, focused outward on the "action in the wings," the two appear united in both their strength and their fear as they face the task of evading detection. A closeup of the painting reveals that upon Judith's sword is the image of a gorgon, symbol of the monstrous power of the violated feminine.
Approximately eleven years later, in 1625, Artemisia completed her second
version of Judith and Her Maidservant, a deeply shadowed painting with
stark contrast between light and dark augmenting the psychological tension of the scene.
Here, Judith at the top of the candlelit scene, is half hidden in dark dramatic shadow.
Her face also contributes to the contrast and ominous atmosphere - the sensual
softness of her cheeks combined with cool almost indifferent gaze and sneering
expression. Here too, Artemisia realistically portrays human beings in dramatic moments,
capturing consider detail in their figures, expressions and clothing. This Judith
appears older, more experienced and resigned to the harshness of life than the Judith in
the 1614 painting.
LINKS: Paintings by Artemisia
On Paintings by Artemisia
Paintings of Judith
Paintings of Other Female Heroines
Other Paintings by Artemisia
Other Baroque Painting sites
|Photos were scanned and optimized by Tracy Marks (alias
Tika Yupanqui of Ancient Sites) and may
not be used without permission. The content of this web site is copyright 1999 by Tracy Marks.