Monthly Archives: March 2012

Now for something completely different (XXXIV)

A Date With Judy (1953 vol. 34)

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From 1966 to 1969, I was entranced by a television drama set in East Africa called Daktari.    It featured Dr. Tracy – a veterinarian at the fictional Wameru Study Centre for Animal Behaviour – his daughter Paula (to flirt with all the safari guides and veterinary interns), and his staff (who frequently protected animals from poachers) and local officials.    The last season included Jenny Jones, a seven-year-old orphan who becomes part of the Tracy household, played by child star Erin Moran (who grew up to become Joanie Cunningham and fall in love with Chaci and write a tell-all book).    But the most popular characters were Tracy’s pets:   a cross-eyed lion named Clarence and a chimpanzee named Judy, .


Like I really needed the kids in middle school to associate me with Judy the Chimp.


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Judith in a balancing act

Emil Kazaz, “The Head of Holofernes,” 1998, Oil on Linen, 43 x 36 in,

Another robust Judith depicted by Emil Kazaz – looking as full-of-herself as ever.   Here we have her in the Whistler’s Mother Pose in her red pantaloons, black stockings, and gold slippers with red bows.   How risque and slightly scandalous!

But the real work of art is the rapt attention from Holofernes’ ginormous face as it stares at Judith from the plate on her lap – while a green fruit balances on his forehead.   Giant lime?  Immature breadfruit?  Avocado, tomatillo, cherimoya, feijoa?   Mutant olive?

We may never know.  And we can only imagine the humiliation heaped upon Holofernes as he has to endure this garnish precariously perched on his noggin.   Unable to utter a word.   While Judith manages it all deftly with one hand.

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Posted by on March 30, 2012 in Cacciatore


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Judith explains it all

Judith:   Look, don’t take it so personally.

Holofernes:   …

Judith:   What else could I do?   I would have done the same thing to anyone else who backed me into a corner.   Maybe even before three days of parties.   Or maybe I would have waited until the Assyrian Arak ran out.

Holofernes:   …

Judith:    Sure, we’re all having fun until somebody loses his head.  I now I suppose you will pout.

Antonio Zanchi, “Judith,” c.1660-1670, Oil on canvas, 117 x 98 cm, Regional Art Gallery, Tambov, Russia

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Posted by on March 29, 2012 in Distracted


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Judith trips out

Judy Glantzman, “Judith and Holofernes.” 2008, Oil on canvas, 62.6 x 162.6 cm,

Like any good rock concert, I might better appreciate contemporary art with altered consciousness.   But like any good rock concert, that is what makes it challenging and fun.

This is the work of Judy Glantzman, who describes her work as:

“A cacophony of voices desired to be heard, these paintings can be seen as the inside of my head made visible …The paintings are worked over a long period of time. The repetition and repainting allows me freedom to form each figure without judgment – I choose to reveal myself, but what is revealed can be scary. I try to be unafraid of my work.” (1)

Definitely, there is a lot going on and it could be revealing.   The focal point is the dark head at the center of the painting – apparently cradled in Judith’s hands in front of her chest.   Emanating from this center are a myriad of other images, a spectrum of innate emotions about the beheading of Holofernes.   It is as if all these people and events are present in the moment that Judith has taken his head – all the circumstances that led up to the moment and all the circumstances that will be altered by it.   And they radiate out from Judith and Holofernes like waves that ripple from a drop of water on a still surface.

Antecedents.  Consequences.  Reminders that our acts are never simple things.  And some are more concentrated in their effects than others.


(1) Scene B Scene, 11c., Dactyl Foundation- Judy Glantzman: A 30-year Retrospective, April 4, 2009

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Posted by on March 28, 2012 in Cacciatore


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Judith gets real

August Riedel, “Judith,” 1840, Oil on canvas, 131 x 96 cm,                                                                  Neue Pinakothek, Munich, Germany

Real.  Luminous.  Sensitive.  Colorful.

Those are descriptions of the work of August Riedel.   Riedel went to Italy in 1828 and after a brief return to Germany, he settled in Rome in 1832.    His works were popular among the Bavarian royal family, and this painting “Judith” is one of his most famous.

After all the Renaissance, Mannerist, and Baroque depictions of Judith in absurd gowns and contorted poses and ridiculous settings, Riedel’s Judith seems so practical and logical.   The hair, the stance, the expression, the garb – understated and appropriate.   This is a believable Judith.   strong and resolute but somewhat uncertain.

Yes, I would imagine there would be uncertainty somewhere along the line.  Coupled with hiding Holofernes’ severed head behind her back, that would be real.

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Posted by on March 27, 2012 in Glory


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Judith feels a chill

Maybe a jacket would help? Or a wet teeshirt?

Ryan Humphrey, “Judith after the beheading of Holofernes,” 2011, pencil and ink on paper, and

But she should watch her back.  The Maid appears to be jealous.

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Posted by on March 26, 2012 in Whorey


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Judith procrastinates

Maid:  Psst. I know you enjoying showing off the severed head, but we need to go.

Judith:  In a minute.  gawd, sometimes you are so pushy.

Maid:   But you forgot that you promised your mother you would stop but for Sunday dinner.

Judith:   Dagnabbit!  You’re right. I suppose I need a shower.   And I told her I would bring the entree.

Maid:   Well, I think there is still some meat in the bottom of this bloody bag …

Judith:  Do you think she would mind if we brought along a guest?

Artemesia Gentileshi, “Judith, the head of Holofernes and the servant,” 1611-14, oil on canvas, 129 x 96.3 cm, Museo del Barocco Romano, Collezione Lemme, Ariccia, Italy


I have now found that this is not the work of Artemisia Gentileschi, but is suspected to be that of none other than Ottavio Leoni (1578–1630). His main claim to fame is his portrait of (insert trumpets) Caravaggio – the only documented portrait of the painter by another artist.

Read the whole account here: Clovis Whitfield, Judith in the field of Caravaggism, News-Art, 13/01/2017

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Posted by on March 25, 2012 in Distracted


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Judith goes exploring (xv)

Do all roads lead out of Rome as well?

Day 105:  At this point, I am considering taking the train from Rome’s Termini to Albano Laziale (about 45 minutes) and then renting a car for my next leg of the trip.  With an international driver’s license and a little convertible to take me down the coast, maybe?    It will take twice as long as the express route but …

… but first:  Ariccia.   The most famous sight in Ariccia is the northern entrance from the famous Ponte di Ariccia which leads to Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s Baroque square and his domed circular church of the Assent.   While the work of Bernini is impressive, I am here to see Artemisia Gentileschi‘s Judith, the Head of Holofernes and the Servant at the The Museum of the Baroque in Bernini’s Palazzo Chigi.   Within the Collezione Lemme of 128 paintings are paintings by Cavalier d’Arpino, Mattia Preti, Carlo Maratta, among many others.  The Palazzo Chigi is also the home of the Campus Studio of Auburn University.  How do you say hey, y’all! in Italian?

every day:  (Apr-Sept) 10 am -1 pm and 3.30 pm – 6.30 pm,  (Oct-Mar) 10 am -1 pm and 3 pm – 6 pm

If I don’t linger in Ariccia to eat the famous Porchetta (roast pork), I can take the scenic route along the coast – stopping in Terracina for the night at the highly recommended Hotel Casa Yvorio.   No Judith is here, but if it is as hospitable as the reviews and the weather warms the sand between my toes, I may have to stay a little longer.

Day 106:   If I can get my arse back in the car, the trip to Naples is 2 hours or so.  There are at least 3 Judith’s in Naples, starting with the Museo di Capodimonte as I enter the city.   Artemesia Gentileschi was once a resident of Naples and left behind an intense Judith slaying Holofernes, plus the museum holds a sketch of Giuditta by Rembrandt.  There is supposed to be a Cavallino around here somewhere, but I can’t find it in this grand Bourbon palazzo that used to be a hunting lodge.

Wed – closed;  Thu-Tue 8.30 am – 7.30 pm 

The next destination is the most visible landmark of the city, perched atop the Vomero hill that commands the gulf:  Certosa di San Martino (St. Martin’s Charterhouse) aka the National Museum of San Martino.   I am looking for the ceiling fresco Judith Triumphant by Luca Giordano in the Cappella del Tesoro of this former monastery.   In addition to the breathtaking views, this museum complex also houses two other artworks of interest.  First, a collection of Neapolitan nativity scenes including the Presepe Cuciniello (Cuciniello’s crib), which consists of 162 people, 80 animals, 28 angels, and about 450 miniature items – among the finest nativity scenes in the world.  I am such a sucker for a great nativity scene.  Second, a cloister decorated with marble skulls.  Yep, that fits with Judith.

Wed – closed;  Thu-Tue 8.30 am – 7.30 pm 

Those two stops will probably qualify me for a nice dinner and a bed at Hotel Il Convento.   Where I can dump the car and sleep like a nun.

Day 107:   The first destination today is two blocks from my hotel:  the Gallery of Palazzo Zevallos Stigliano – the location of the collection of the Collezione Banca Commerciale Italiana.  It is still a little iffy about whether or not the art work of Judith is there and, if it is, if this is (insert trumpets here) Caraviggio or a copy by Finson.  The only way to answer the questions is to look for myself.  One thing I do know:  the last (insert trumpets here) Caraviggio is here.

Mon – closed;  Tues-Sun: 9 am – 8 pm 

From the gallery, a straight 10 minute walk down the Via Toledo will end up at the Palozzo Reale (Royal Palace) – the location of Judith by Pietro Novelli. aka il Monrealese.   (Does that translate to Real World??)  The Royal Apartment occupies half of the palace, and is furnished with the original furniture plus masterpieces from Neapolitan churches that closed and the Presepio del Banco di Napoli (Nativity Scene of the Bank of Naples).  The other half is a library of 32,950 manuscripts, 4,563 incunabula, and 1,752 papyrus manuscripts from Herculaneum.  That’s a lot of reading.

Sun-Mon – closed;  Tues-Sat: 9 am – 7 pm 

And assuming there is a flight, it is time to leave for Malta.

Day 108:   I never really thought about Malta – a speck in the Mediterranean Sea.  I was not even sure where it was located.  But when you learn about Malta, well, it is no surprise that three Judith’s ended up here.  From the 16th century onwards, Malta was ruled by of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, also known as Knights Hospitaller, founded around 1023 to provide care for poor, sick or injured pilgrims to the Holy Land.   In the National Museum of Fine Arts in Valletta, there are works by insert trumpets here) Caraviggio – who took refuge here and tried to be a Knight but ended up being ejected for bad behavior.   I am in search of Mattio Preti and Valetin de Boulogne.

Preti was a Knight of Grace in the Order of St John and he spent most of the remainder of his life there after 1659, transforming the interior of St. John’s Co-Cathedral with a huge series of paintings on the life and martyrdom of St. John the Baptist (1661-1666).  The museum houses his Judith showing the Head of Holophernes to the Betulians.   I am not sure how de Boulogne’s sweet Judith beheading Holoferenes ended up here.  Lost it in a bet during vacation maybe?

every day:  9 am – 5 pm  

And maybe so should I … vacation, that is.   Wonder how long the Hotel Phoenicia will let me stay before I fly to Bologne?

Day 109:   After one more stop:  the gallery of Daniel Azzopardi Antiques and Fine Arts a few blocks from the hotel.  Where they are selling Eradi’s Judith.  Unless I am too late.

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Posted by on March 24, 2012 in Exploring


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Now for something completely different (XXXIII)

A Date With Judy (1953 vol. 33)

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I found Judy Worldwide !!


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Judith in the headlight

Giovanni Battista Spinelli, “Judith with the Head of Holofernes,” Oil on canvas, 80 x 68 cm, Musee de Beaux Arts, Nantes, France

Judith:  Whoa, dude. that light is way too bright and aimed right in my face.   And dang, you don’t have to shout.   Didn’t you hear about the party last night?

It was VERY private.   And I fear the General is a little hung over.  In fact, he has a splitting headache.  He said he feels like it is about to blow off his head.  You could say he is not completely himself.

So, why don’t you run along and tell the other boys he will be there  …  as soon as he can pull himself together  …  which could take quite awhile.

I wouldn’t want to tell you a lie.

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Posted by on March 22, 2012 in Story


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