Monthly Archives: October 2012

Judith goes West

Carl Kauba, “Judith,” 1910, bronze sculpture, 10 in, sold by Jenn Maur Gallery

Carl Kauba (aka Karl Thenn) was best known for his American Western polychrome bronze subjects, although it is highly debatable that he ever visited America.   How Judith fits into a Western, I do not know.

Unless this is actually the depiction of a saloon girl wielding a Big Ass Knife.

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Posted by on October 31, 2012 in Whorey


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Judith needs another head

Francesco Guarino (Guarini Da Solofra), “Judith with head of Holofernes,” 1651, Oil on canvas,  123 x 99 cm, San Marco Casa D’Aste Spa (Lot 30)

Judith:  Oh, my back is killing me!

Maid:     I keep telling you, it’s your bad posture.

Judith:   Well, I bought this iron girdle to help.  What else am I supposed to do.

Maid:     Pilates.

Judith:  Pontius Pilate?

Maid:     Not PIE-late.  Pi-LA-tes, the abdominal exercises.  To strengthen your core.

Judith:   What a relief.  I thought you were going to get me mixed up with Pontius Pilate and Herod Antipater … who ended up giving slutty little Salome the head of John the Baptist.

Maid:     No … I think one severed head is enough for us to handle.

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Posted by on October 30, 2012 in Distracted


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Now for something completely different (LXI)

“A Date with Judy,” (1957, vol. 61)

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Judith (1978) is the third in a series of historical novels set in late eighteenth-century England written by the Irish-based author Brian Cleeve.    Like its predecessors (Sara, 1975, and Kate, 1977), the protagonist of Judith is a young independent-minded woman who tries to make her way in a largely inhospitable and sometimes terrifying world – focusing on the difficulties faced by women in a hierarchical society dominated by men. Through Judith’s experiences in late nineteenth-century London, the reader is confronted with the harsh life of those who lack the privileges of position and money.

I’m expecting “bodice ripper” more than historical accuracy.  I wonder why I haven’t seen the movie?

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Posted by on October 29, 2012 in something completely different


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Judith at a loss

Judith:  Wait a minute, wait a minute!   I’m sure that head is in here somewhere.
Arghhh.   Next time I do this, remind me to wear a different skirt.

Sergei Zagorsky, “Judith,” 2009, Oil on cardboard, 62 x 37cm,

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Posted by on October 28, 2012 in Cacciatore


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Judith meets a mason

Talk about stepping back in time.   Marcus Wainwright is a traditional stonemason who creates and restores stone carvings – trained in the Chamber of Crafts in Freiburg, Germany.  Looking at his current work is the experience of Medieval craftsmenship.

Marcus Wainwright, “Judith,” 2007, Oamaru stone, 940 x 750 cm,

But Oh My Gawd – It’s a copy of Botticelli.  And the maid has the basket on her head!!


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Posted by on October 27, 2012 in Glory


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Judith as a Pisces

This is definitely a case of Tim Burton meets The Little Mermaid.

Oleg Nekrasov, “Judith and Holofernes,” 2007, Oil on canvas,       80 x 40 cm,

The straight edge razor is the weapon, and Judith already has Holofernes’ head in jar.

But after that, I am lost.   Or as some might say “I am at sea.”   Seems like something fishy is going on.

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Posted by on October 26, 2012 in Cacciatore


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Judith in Santo Sospir

There is a long story here.

Villa Santo Sospir, St Jean Cap Ferrat, France

Jacque Cocteau –  poet, novelist, dramatist, designer, playwright, artist and filmmaker – was enchanted by the Villa Santo Sospir, the vacation home of his friends Alec and Francine Weisweiller.   When first invited there as a guest in 1948, the walls of the villa were empty and Cocteau asked Francine if he could draw the head of Apollo in charcoal above the fireplace in the lounge.
And the drawing continued through the summer of 1950, with frescoes inspired by Greek mythology and allusions to the Riviera.   Cocteau worked without any preliminary drafts – drawing in charcoal, then enhancing the drawings with color diluted in raw milk for a tempera frescoes.   Cocteau wrote: “you should not dress up the walls, they drew on their skin, so I dealt with frescoes linearly with the few colors that enhance the tattoos. Santo is a villa Sospir tattooed. “

After finishing the walls of the villa, he painted the ceilings in soft tones of pastel.  He then made two mosaics for the patio entrance: two faces and a snake on the threshold, the head of Orpheus on the left wall.   And finally three years later, Cocteau made the Aubusson tapestry Judith and Holofernes for the bare wall of the dining room – based on a 1948 design he executed in pastel on cardboard at his home in Milly-la-Foret. (1)

Jean Cocteau, “Judith and Holofernes,” 1948, pastel on cardboard, Jean Cocteau Severin Wunderman Museum, Menton, France

Not surprisingly, Cocteau was known to employ symbolism in his work.  Fish, fishermen, water, and sea symbolism are pervasive emblems, as well as shapes that look like Runic or Egyptian letter “M” that resembles the alchemical sign for water.   The name of this rune is “Dagaz,” which in many ancient languages means  “fish.”    In many other ancient languages, the syllable “Dag” or “Dagaz” means “day.”   And it is this rune that is incorporated  in his tapestry of Judith and Holophernes, his drawing of Her Majesty Queen Cleopatra, his Portrait of Raymond Radiguet, all over the Chapel of Saint Peter, and probably in many other places. (2)

(Post Script:  this drawing is located in the Jean Cocteau Museum – newly opened November 2011)

And now that I have referenced his use of symbolism, that is as far as I can venture into alchemy.  I am much more comfortable with discussing interior design and Jungian archetypes.

Jean Cocteau, Dining room, 1948-51, Aubusson tapestry, Villa Santo-Sospir, Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, France

Jean Cocteau, “Judith and Holofernes,” 1951, Aubusson tapestry, Villa Santo-Sospir, Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, France

Qhat I see in Cocteau’s Judith is a triumph and a trial.   The trophy head, hidden in the robe, as Judith tiptoes past the sleeping army.    She seems cat-like in her tiger print drape, in her pointed facial features, in her stealth.   She appears to be from another world – a separate creature from the Assyrians.  And so she walks toward the viewer, away from the darkness and into the dawn with power and success at her side.

Bon appetite?

(1) Villa Santo Sospir
(2) Tracy R. Twyman, Jean Cocteau: Man of the 20th Century, Dagobert’s Revenge Magazine, 1998

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Posted by on October 25, 2012 in Glory


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