judith and holofernes

Artemisia Gentileschi (1593-1656)
“Judith and her Maidservant” (1613)
Oil on canvas
Baroque
Located in the Palazzo Pitti, Florence, Italy

10

Francisco Goya’s Black Paintings

1. Saturn Devouring his Son, 1819-23, oil mural transferred to canvas, 143 x 81 cm, Museo del Prado, Madrid. Source

2. The Dog, 1819-23, oil mural transferred to canvas, 131.5 x 79.3 cm, Museo del Prado, Madrid. Source

3. Two Old Men Eating Soup, 1819-23, oil mural transferred to canvas, 49.3 x 83.4 cm, Museo del Prado, Madrid. Source

4. Judith and Holofernes, 1819-23, oil mural transferred to canvas, 143.5 x 81.4 cm, Museo del Prado, Madrid. Source

5. Two Old Men, 1819-23, oil mural transferred to canvas, 146 x 66 cm, Museo del Prado, Madrid. Source

6. The Fates, 1819-23, oil mural transferred to canvas, 123 x 266 cm, Museo del Prado, Madrid. Source

7. Fight with Cudgels, 1819-23, oil mural transferred to canvas, 123 x 266 cm, Museo del Prado, Madrid. Source

8. Witches’ Sabbath, 1819-23, oil mural transferred to canvas, 140 x 438 cm, Museo del Prado, Madrid. Source

9. Fantastic Vision, 1819-23, oil mural transferred to canvas, 125.4 x 65.4 cm, Museo del Prado, Madrid. Source

10. Man Mocked by Two Women, 1819-23, oil mural transferred to canvas, 125.4 x 65.4 cm, Museo del Prado, Madrid. Source

Here is a selection of works from Goya’s famous ‘Black Paintings’ series, which consists of fourteen murals that were painted directly onto the walls of the Quinta del Sordo house in Madrid, where the artist lived between 1819 and 1823. They have since been removed, transferred to canvases, and become part of the Museo del Prado’s collection.

The series is pretty dark, to say the least. It is rife with themes of witchcraft, insanity, violence and death’s inevitability. My personal favourite is Saturn Devouring his Son, which is based on the story of Saturn’s Greek counterpart, Cronus, and how he ate his sons after hearing that they would eventually overthrow him. However, Saturn/Cronus was tricked by Rhea into swallowing a stone instead of one of his children. This son, of whom Rhea was the mother, was Zeus, and he would eventually have Cronus and the other titans imprisoned. Goya’s depiction is deliciously gory and terrifying. Saturn’s face is enough to give you nightmares!

Ignazio Collino (1706-1787)
“Judith with the Head of Holofernes” (1750)
Terracotta
Baroque
Located in the Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States

As told in the Bible, the Jewish heroine Judith slew the Assyrian general Holofernes, who had laid siege to her city. Pretending to desert her people, Judith attracted the attention of Holofernes, who invited her into his tent. When he passed out drunk, she beheaded him. Here, Judith is shown in a solemn and heroic pose, her upturned head a sign of the divine inspiration that enabled her to save her people.

Here’s a sneek peek from the beginning of the Warrior story. You can see her war painting and it’s meaning will be explained in the book. I was always admiring paintings from Carravaggio and Artemisia Gentileschi especially “Judith beheading Holofernes” which was the main inspiration for this piece.