I first discussed Lavinia Fontana on September 9, 2011 in “Judith multi-tasks.” It is there we saw her portrait of the Wolf-Faced Girl and her most famous depictions of Judith. But Fontana left over 100 documented works – 32 signed and dated works that are known today and 25 more that can be attributed to her – making her oeuvre the largest for any female artist prior to 1700. The paintings I discuss today are two more that depict Judith – with one still in reserve that brings the total to four for Fontana.
The first Judith by Fontana is actually a self-portrait. She must have been feeling witty that day and decided to play a little game Or maybe she found out she was pregnant with child #11 and decided to send a subtle message to her husband, Paolo Zappi.
The second Judith may also be a self-portrait, but full length in this case. And lavishly arrayed. Her gown of red is a perfect foil for the inevitable blood stain. And the gold netting gives just the right gleam for an evening frock. The jewels may be a little heavy, but if they dazzled Holofernes while Judith was drawing his fauchion, they served an important purpose. I would definitely say “yes” to this dress for a night of swashbuckling.