Judith is timeless

15 Apr
Judith II (1924) Issac Grunewald

Isaac Grunewald, “Judith II,” 1924, Oil on canvas, 64 x 54 cm, auctioned by Stockholms Auktionsverk, Modern Art, Oct 25–26, 2011 (Lot 700), Stockholm, Sweden

I was really surprised by this painting.   My first guess was: the work of a contemporary South American artist. Judith has the olive complexion, the massive dark hair, a stylish one-shouldered sheath in spicy tones, the gold loop earring and bangle bracelets of a Latin American style.  So imagine my astonishment to learn this is the work of a Swedish painter from 1924.  This depiction must have been shocking to the audience at that time, even in light of Fauvism, Cubism, and Expressionism.

And yet, this portrait highlights the fact that Judith is timeless.  Her story has been told and retold, her motives re-imagined numerous times from saintly to slutty, her means interpreted from self-sacrificing to sadistic.  And when you think about the 700 depictions that have been covered in this blog, her story is downright scary.

So it is nice to still be surprised.  To find Judith can be recycled and come out fresh after all these years. To realize that after all these years, her final victory is being resilient.


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Posted by on April 15, 2013 in Cacciatore


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