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)

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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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Judith sets the table

Just what every bride wants in her gift registry: a set of forks (fourchette à piquer) with handles depicting a woman holding a severed head.

Personally, I would prefer to have this motif on my set of knives.

unknown, “Carved handle of Judith,” c.1600-1625, ivory handle, 5.21 cm, Château de Saumur, Saumur, France

unknown, “Tine fork with two teeth, carved handle of Judith,” c.1600-1625, iron tines; ivory handle, 5.21 cm, Château de Saumur, Saumur, France

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Posted by on October 24, 2012 in Distracted


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Judith dines on foreign cuisine

Augusto Rendón, “Judith and Holofernes”

Tracking down art on the internet can sometimes be frustrating.  On the one hand, it gives me exposure to art and artists I might never have seen.   On the other hand, the information is often incomplete or erroneous.  Grrrr.   And so I have this image with a blog about Colombian artists – but no idea when it was created or where it resides.

However, I do have a translation of an interview with the artist (Bogota, Friday September 9, 2011)(1):
I painted this unhappy couple several times. It’s an episode unlikely as many of the Old Testament, because I can not believe that a Jewish woman could so easily enter the powerful Assyrian general store to behead him. Something suggests including other great love was then beheaded.
Which raises the question:  is Judith simultaneously dining with Holofernes and looking at his severed head OR is she dining with some other man while looking at Holofernes severed head?   I am thinking the man at the table looks like Willie Nelson more than an Assyrian General, so I vote for the latter. (Although why Willie Nelson would toast Holofernes’ decapitation is another matter to ponder.  Or why he would be in Bethulia.)

I also have a very passionate description of the art of Augusto Rendón (2) .

For six decades the artist obstinately trodden paths of eroticism and violence. In the first case, a secret tribute to the Luncheon on the Grass by Manet, flashing female figures in his paintings (Cleopatra, Ishtar, Hera, Demeter, Aphrodite) dining with opaque naked men dressed in linen-covered tables by rolling, which causes tension anarchic perspective on food. And these great ladies visited ancient ceremonies for foreign cuisine, making up one of his most important pictorial series …

The artist obsessed by some evil themes of the Bible – “the book of nonsense,” as he likes to call it, he emphasizes that one of the few legacies of Christianity was the wonderful art it produced. There … is also notorious burlesque intention, offensive, when painted quietly while dining Judith Holofernes’s head rests on a tray, Eve picnic with Adam black, Jacob wrestling with an angel of pathetic claws, to the divine messengers dressed in garters and half-naked holy with golden halo, as blasphemous tribute to his beloved Giotto. In other words, the Bible fruitful irony much of his artistic creations.

Therefore, I still do not know where this painting may be found.   But I have now learned that Rendon liked to paint scenes of:   a) men and woman dining at a table b) with foreign cuisine c) in an erotic situation.   Alas, this second depiction of Judith has no couple, no table, no food – but Judith does look somewhat happier and more relaxed in this scene.  Only … she seems to be missing a cigarette.

Augusto Rendón, Judith and Holofernes,” 1986, Silkscreen, 40 x 50 cm,

(1) Gonzalo Márquez Cristo, The invisible artist: Interview with Augusto RendonFriday September 9, 2011, Augusto Rendon blogspot.

(2) Gonzalo Márquez Cristo, Augusto Rendon: Between love and fear, Augusto Rendon blogspot.

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Posted by on October 23, 2012 in Whorey


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Now for something completely different (LX)

A Date With Judy (1957, vol. 60)

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In 2009, Maurice Sendak’s childhood classic Where the Wild Things Are was turned into a movie.   And within the movie, one of the Wild Things is named Judith – voiced by Kathleen O’Hara.

Meeting Judith, from Where The Wild Things Are

Judith: Hey, can I be your favourite colour? Ahahaha.
[Max imitates her laugh]

Max: Har har har.

Judith: Ahahaha.
[Max does it again, with more effort]

Max: Har har har.

Judith: [more evilly] ahahahaha!

Max: Har har har!

Judith: Ahahahahaha!


Judith: You know what? You can’t do that back to me. If we’re upset, your job is not to get upset back at us. Our job is to be upset. If I get mad and wanna eat you, then you have to say: Oh, okay. You can eat me. I love you. Whatever makes you happy, Judith.” That’s what you’re supposed to do!

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Posted by on October 22, 2012 in something completely different


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