Judith and Cranach the Elder, drei

16 Jan

I really need to know: what is up with with those gloves?

When we find Cranach’s ladies wearing gloves of finest kid, with slashings to show the dozens of rings they are wearing under them (as well as rings over the gloves, which is impossible in reality), we should guess that someone is taking the mickey (1).

Lucas Cranach the Elder, “Judith Victorious,” c.1530, Oil on beech, 75 x 56 cm, Jagdschloss Grunewald, Berlin, Germany

I have no evidence of a mickey, but this excerpt does give me insight into the gloves.   Originally, I thought I was looking at a pair of metallic prothetic hands  (heavens to Cole Blaquesmith!).   But I am relieved that the gray-white hue depicts kid gloves.  I also now know the gloves are slashed at the joints to show the rings underneath – our Judith being a conspicuous consumer.   And to add to her vanity, she has rings on top of her gloves as well.

Add a few festive feathers to her chapeau, and she is ready to take Holofernes’ head on the town.

Lucas Cranach the Elder, “Judith with the Head of Holofernes,” c.1530, Oil on wood, 77 × 56 cm, Burrell Collection, Glasgow, Scotland, UK

With a more dramatic application of the feathers, It appears Judith is poised for the Christmas season.   However, she may wish to wipe the blood from the enormous sword before greeting the children.

(1) Germaine Greer, “How would Cranach feel about the RA using his nude Venus in a giant advert?,” The Guardian, 5 May 2008.

(2) Renaissance Rings: Portrait of an unknown lady by Lucas Cranach the Elder.

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Posted by on January 16, 2012 in Gory


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