Judith is not an angel

19 Jul

Guariento, sometimes incorrectly named Guerriero, was first known to teach painting in Padua in 1338 and to be invited to Venice in 1355 to paint the great council-hall.  While other painters used static, idealized figures, Guariento’s innovative style combined lifelike figures with a dramatic human emotion.  And his angels were superb examples of powerful winged beings.  Not fluffy little cloud-loungers like we think of today, but big and scary sexually ambiguous entities with pointy wings – and spears.

These works were greatly admired at the time, but many have long ago disappeared under repaintings and his works in Padua have suffered.

Guariento di Arpo, “Judith and Holofernes,” 14th century, fresco, Galilean Academy of Sciences, Letters and Arts of Padua (former Reggia Carrara), Padua, Italy

Yet here is Judith in the midst of beheading Holofernes, in crisp detail.   In a lovely golden gown, making a minimum of muss and fuss – she seems to have things under control.   Although she would hardly be described as angelic.

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Posted by on July 19, 2012 in Glory


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