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.