now that Judith has met her man, she is on to the dinner party – as painted by Lucas Cranach the Elder.
(a side note about Lucas: this dude is OBSESSED with Judith. although this painting is rather benign, later in this art-a-log it will take an entire week to talk about his paintings of Judith. over and over and over again. there is either 1) deep underlying psychological disturbance within Cranach, or 2) a very lucrative market for Judith avec la tete – kind of like Elvis on velvet.)
in this pastoral scene, Judith is seated at the table of Holofernes who happens to look like Henry VIII. which should be no surprise since Cranach is the contemporary of and painted in the same Northern Renaissance style of Hans Holbein the Younger, King’s Painter to Henry VIII. the action takes place in the foreground, while the army encampment is mid-ground and Bethulia is on a hill in the background.
Lucas Cranach the Elder, "Judith Dining with Holofernes," 1531, Oil on panel, 98 × 72 cm, Museum Schloß Friedenstein, Gotha, Germany
i am a little confused by the giant wheels at the back of the feast – a giant wagon? a carnival ride? a Western theme to the banquet? but i am tremendously pleased someone is taking time to feed the dog.
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Book of Judith, Chapter 10
11 Thus they went straight forth in the valley: and the first watch of the Assyrians met her,
12 And took her, and asked her, Of what people art thou? and whence comest thou? and whither goest thou? And she said, I am a woman of the Hebrews, and am fled from them: for they shall be given you to be consumed:
13 And I am coming before Holofernes the chief captain of your army, to declare words of truth; and I will shew him a way, whereby he shall go, and win all the hill country, without losing the body or life of any one of his men.
14 Now when the men heard her words, and beheld her countenance, they wondered greatly at her beauty, and said unto her,
15 Thou hast saved thy life, in that thou hast hasted to come down to the presence of our lord: now therefore come to his tent, and some of us shall conduct thee, until they have delivered thee to his hands.
16 And when thou standest before him, be not afraid in thine heart, but shew unto him according to thy word; and he will entreat thee well.
17 Then they chose out of them an hundred men to accompany her and her maid; and they brought her to the tent of Holofernes.
18 Then was there a concourse throughout all the camp: for her coming was noised among the tents, and they came about her, as she stood without the tent of Holofernes, till they told him of her.
19 And they wondered at her beauty, and admired the children of Israel because of her, and every one said to his neighbour, Who would despise this people, that have among them such women? surely it is not good that one man of them be left who being let go might deceive the whole earth.
20 And they that lay near Holofernes went out, and all his servants and they brought her into the tent.
21 Now Holofernes rested upon his bed under a canopy, which was woven with purple, and gold, and emeralds, and precious stones.
22 So they shewed him of her; and he came out before his tent with silver lamps going before him.
23 And when Judith was come before him and his servants they all marvelled at the beauty of her countenance; and she fell down upon her face, and did reverence unto him: and his servants took her up.