For a change-up, I will now look at Judith standing on Holofernes’ head. Yes, that’s right. Throws the head on the ground and stands on it. Given the times in which it was painted, the concept is revolutionary.
Giorgione seems to have started the trend. And I find his depiction to be exquisite.
Giorgione is a rather mysterious character. His name sometimes appears as Zorzo or Zorzon, which translates to “Big George.” He was known for the “elusive poetic quality of his work” although only about six surviving paintings are known to be his products with certainty. He is also credited with introducing a new range of subjects beyond altarpieces and portraits: pictures that told no story (biblical or classical) or told stories in form and color with lyrical or romantic feeling rather than actions.
“Judith” is one of the six paintings known to be Giorgione’s. “The concept of idealized beauty is evoked in a virginally pensive Judith from the Hermitage Museum, a large painting which exhibits Giorgione’s special qualities of color richness and landscape romance, while demonstrating that life and death are each other’s companions rather than foes.” (1)
Strange … I thought Judith looked totally triumphant rather than pensive or companionable. The message I got was “Listen shit-head, you messed with my People and now I am using your head as a football. I can swing you around by your hair all I want, but today I am putting you lower than the lowly so I can place my foot where your neck used to be – just to feel what it is like to be truly on top. And don’t even THINK about looking up my dress.”
(1) Wikipedia: Giorgione
For a comparison of Judith to Angelina Jolie, see Jonathan Jones’ article, What Angelina Jolie’s leg has in common with Renaissance art, The Guardian, February 29 , 2012