Judith and Cranach the Elder, zwei

15 Jan

Gadzooks.  I was so overcome by excitement yesterday that I forgot to talk about the painting.

And I should probably mention at this point:

  1. Cranach’s paintings have been paired up in the interest of time (because LC the E could go on for weeks, zzzz).
  2. Pairings are based on similarity of something that struck my fancy (ouch).
  3. Chronological order is out the window.

Now that I have that nice and tidy, let me prepare you for Lucas Cranach the Elder.

Lucas Cranach the Elder, “Judith with the head of Holofernes,” 1525, Oil on panel, 83.5 x 54.6 cm, Syracuse University Art Collection, Syracuse, New York, USA

Several things you will notice as we advance through this gallery.

  • All of these Judith’s are dressed.   Lavishly.
  • All of these Judith’s love their bling.   Lots of bling and many big hats.
  • All of these Judith’s have an upright sword.   A big heavy straight erect sword.
  • All of these Judith’s have Holofernes’ head by the hair, resting on a table with the severed soft tissue dangling in your direction.
  • And last but not least – all these Judith’s are slightly smiling.

Lucas Cranach the Elder, “Judith with the head of Holofernes,” 1526-30, Oil and tempera on limewood, 87 x 58 cm, Staatliche Museen, Kassel, Germany

The first Judith today –  who is one of “The Orange” at University of Syracuse – is potentially the earliest of Cranach’s paintings.   If it is correctly dated in 1525, it came before the deluge of 1530.    Compared to some of the other paintings from LC the E, this Judith is fairly simple:  one necklace, one heavy braid to secure her fur cloak, four visible rings on her fingers, an elegant snood on her hair and a jaunty yet simple hat cocked on the side of her head.   And a smug little smile.

The second Judith is a bit fancier.   More bling, more elaborate fabrics, a more posh hat.  Her head coquettishly dipped to the side.  And in the background, a window that opens to a landscape with a castle.

Oh, yea.  And Holofernes looks pretty much the same.

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Posted by on January 15, 2012 in Gory


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