Judith tones it down

12 Oct

Remember that Rubens from last month.  The one I LOVED.

Well …  WHAT THE HELL IS THIS?  And WHY is it in the UFFIZI when the other one was SO MUCH BETTER?

Peter Paul Rubens, “Judith with the Head of Holophernes,” c. 1625, oil on canvas, 113 x 89 cm, Uffizi, Florence, Italy

Once again, I guess we know why I am not an art critic.  Because I think this version of Judith by Rubens is a snooze.  A bore.  A predictable repetition of all the other paintings of this time.  And … and … Judith is not even Rubenesque.

What happened??

In 1621, Rubens was commissioned by the Queen Mother of France, Marie de’ Medici, to paint two large allegorical cycles celebrating her life with her late husband, Henry IV, which were installed in Luxembourg Palace in 1625.  Rubens began work on the second series but it was never completed because Marie was exiled from France by her son, Louis XIII.  At the same time, the Spanish Habsburg rulers gave Rubens a number of diplomatic missions, so that between 1627 and 1630, he was active between Spain and England to bring peace.

Maybe he was distracted with other work.  Maybe he thought he should clean-up his act.  Maybe he got lazy or bored.

But this Judith lacks strength and verve and flashy, fleshy breasts.  Her facial expression is so blah.  Her movement putting the head in the bag seems so passive in comparison to the very active Judith we saw before:  no exertion of muscular arms, no eye contact with the viewer. no level of energry that  … … …..


Wake me up when it’s over.

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Posted by on October 12, 2011 in Distracted


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