Judith is sensual … morbidly

27 Feb

Simone Pignoni was best known for painting “in a style reminiscent of the morbidly sensual Furini” (1).    Makes me wonder about morbid sensuality, since that hints at S&M in my simple mind.    His self-portrait (c. 1650) is often cited as evidence of his “licentiousness”  – in which he depicts himself building up a plump naked female from a skeleton.   I don’t really see the problem here, from a contemporary perspective.   No different from the Halloween decorations in my neighbor’s front yard.

Whatever his predilections, he did an admirable job portraying Judith.   And then others did an admirable job of copying Pigeon.   The sincerest form of flattery.

Simone Pignoni, “Judith,” 1675, oil on canvas , 38 x 28 in, Philbrook Museum of Art, Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA

(after) Simone Pignoni, “Judith with the Head of Holofernes,” oil on canvas, 116.8 x 80.7 cm, auctioned by Sotheby’s 1/25/2001

Thomas Le Clair, “Judith and Holofernes,” c.1860, oil on canvas, 285 x 220 cm. auctioned by Sotheby’s 12/07/2004 (Lot 537); collection of Sue & Robert Joki

(1)  Based on comments by Fillipo Baldiuncci in Notizie de’ professori del disegno da Cimabue in qua (Notices of professors of design from Cimabue to now) (1681) – keeping in mind he was intensely pious, considered becoming a Jesuit, and his understanding of art stemmed largely from his religion.

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Posted by on February 27, 2012 in Whorey


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