Judith lights up the room

18 Aug

Ru·ben·esque: of, relating to, or suggestive of the painter Rubens or his works; colorful, sensual, opulent, etc.; especially : plump or rounded usually in a pleasing or attractive way; full and shapely, fleshy and voluptuous; (of a woman’s body) having a large bosom and pleasing curves – bosomy, busty, buxom, curvaceous, curvy, full-bosomed, sonsie, sonsy, stacked, well-endowed, zaftig

You often hear about Rubenesque figures, and here is a great example.   And I like it.

Actually, I love it.

Because this is what healthy women should look like. (Judith, not the maid)

Peter Paul Rubens, “Judith with the Head of Holofernes,” 1616, Oil on canvas, 110 x 120 cm, Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum, Braunschweig, Germany

Compared to the Vamp of the Fin de siècle and Art Nouveau – who is meant to be dangerous – I see this image of Judith as nurturing in a Mother Bear sort-of-way.    The nipple that sneaks from her bodice is alluring, but it also recalls a woman’s ability to nurse – to hold a child to the bosom for sustenance and care.   Her exertion to behead her adversary has caused her breast to be exposed rather than her breast being shown to seduce him. the exposure suggests action and power versus passivity and sex.    And now she looks knowingly at the viewer:  “See – I will take care of you and protect you – even if it means taking off his head.”

This Judith embodies everything of which a woman is capable.

Another element that is unique to this depiction: the maid is holding a knife.    This is the first time I have seen the maid actively involved in the decapitation.   Yes, she is as haggard as an old hound dog, but her involvement indicates that the power of a woman should not be underestimated at any age.

You go, girls.   All the way back to Bethulia.

1 Comment

Posted by on August 18, 2011 in Glory


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One response to “Judith lights up the room

  1. jose felix

    April 12, 2012 at 7:06 pm

    “the maid is holding a knife.”
    Is it a Knife? or is it a candle?
    Sorry my bad English


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