Judith in automatic

29 Jun

André Masson, “Judith and Holofernes,” 1946, ink and charcoal on paper, 33.5 x 32 cm, auctioned by Christie’s, Paris, July 5, 2005 (Lot# 260)

André Masson (1896-1987) is known as the pioneer of automatic drawing – a technique within surrealism that is a means of expressing the subconscious.  In automatic drawing, the hand is allowed to move ‘randomly’ across the paper, using “chance and accident, free of rational control and repression” to allow the subconscious to reveal the psyche.  Wikipedia suggests that you also see scribbling and doodling. Although I doubt my doodles would fetch tens of thousands of dollars at auction.

So in this revelation of the psyche, Masson has depicted Judith and Holofernes.  Or he doodled something and then titled it “Judith and Holofernes.”  Since I only see one figure, it appears to be literally “Judith OR Holofernes.”  And I am supposing it is Holofernes, given the amount of hairy armpit and lack of mammary tissue.

Poor Holofernes.  He looks so lonely, gazing down at the sheets.  Left alone in his bed to contemplate his groin, hands above his head.

Unless … Judith actually is in the picture … somewhere.  After all … this is a MALE subconscious at work …

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Posted by on June 29, 2013 in Distracted


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