Judith is Blue

24 Jun

Once again, Maratta robes Judith in purist blue.

Carlo Maratta, “Judith with the Head of Holofernes,” Oil on canvas, 121 x 88 cm, Schaumburg Lippe, Schloss Buckeburg, Germany

Symbolic language of Blue

  • In the English language, blue often represents the human emotion of sadness.  For example, “He was feeling blue”.
  • It may also be in relation to rain, which is usually regarded as a trigger of depressive emotions.
  • Conversely blue can represent happiness and optimism as days with clearer, blue skies tend to be considered times where these emotions are more easily expressed.
  • In German, on the other hand, to be “blue” (blau sein) is to be drunk. This derives from the ancient use of urine (which is produced copiously by the human body after drinking alcohol) in dyeing cloth blue with woad or indigo.
  • Blue is traditionally the color of the Virgin Mary in Western Art.

Thus I surmise, Maratta is unlikely to be communicating that Judith is sad or depressed or happy or drunk – but most likely symbolizing her relation to the Mother Mary.   “Mulier Sancta” (Holy Woman) and Virgin Mary prototype.   The highest woman in the Christian faith, source of unconditional love and consolation, the brave warriorin epics, exemplar of pious chastity for cloistered nuns, Earth Mother of various Neo-pagan traditions, a Bodhisattva of compassion (Kuan-Yin).   Wrapping Judith in blue is the emblem of feminine power.

I can live with that.

Addendum:  How dare I forget that “blue” is also the color of pornographic films in the US and India.  But I am fairly certain this has nothing to do with Maratta.  Judith, on the other hand …

Second addendum:  If you want to know the real story of blue, read Christopher Moore’s Sacre Bleu.  Even if you don’t want to know, read it anyway for the fun.

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Posted by on June 24, 2012 in Gory


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