Judith, delighted and disturbed

24 Feb

After tackling some of the artwork of Judith that is unclear – both literally and figuratively – it is comforting to return to a classical, straight-forward version of Judith and Holofernes, isn’t it?

Judith () Tommaso Vivo

Tommaso De Vivo (1787–1884), “Judith cutting off the head of Holofernes,” c. 1800, oil on canvas, 298 x 187 cm, Museo Dell’Appartamento Storico Del Palazzo Reale, Naples, IT


Although this appears to be a typical depiction of a conflicted Judith (“Should I or shouldn’t I attack this drunken lout and then butcher him? Let me think for a moment. I mean, it’s not like I do this every day”), there are two elements that are worth noting – one delightful and one disturbing.

Delightful:   The maid in the shadows to the left, keeping watch outside the opening of the tent.  Someone needs to be paying attention and she seems like the one to be practical.

Disturbing:  What IS the large cylindrical object in the upper right corner? I know we are all trained to see inappropriate images in simple cartoon characters these days – and yes, it appears to merely be a quiver of arrows that goes with the large bow.  But if Disney Studios can get into trouble with innocent underwater mermaid castles, then the unusually large and prominently displayed metallic sheath of arrows is alarming .   Maybe the maid should be paying attention to the other side of the room?

1 Comment

Posted by on February 24, 2015 in Distracted


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One response to “Judith, delighted and disturbed

  1. lentonist

    February 24, 2015 at 2:13 pm

    “In borderline boring”? There’s a lady about to decapitate a man who’s sleeping beneath a gigantic phallus quiver. Lots of things maybe – but not boring.


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