Here is Judith in a brilliant red sash. And nothing else – except a skirt that is impossibly thin. Standing in front of an impossibly pink drape.
This is the work of Paul Albert Streck, an Academic French artist at the Fin de siècle. He was a student of Jean-Léon Gérôme, who produced some of the most luminous paintings of history, myth and Oriental subjects of that period. As a girl, I was entranced by Mythology, and Gérôme’s depiction of Pygmalion and Galatea caught my attention for its fanciful theme.
But back to Judith. Not one of my favorite portrayals of her. If you recall, I was looking for righteous anger and powerful retribution – which is entirely missing here. Without a doubt, it is a beautiful painting of a woman, but she looks like a simpering concubine who just happened to find a severed head. “Eeeuw! who left that on my new tiger skin rug??” No sword, no blood, no triumph. Except for the head, how do I even know this is Judith?
Plus, the pink drape is making me wonder about Holofernes’ taste in decor …