I waited too long to write about seeing Judith in Europe, so I am now driven to write about my most recent encounters with Judith before the memories fade. Therefore, before I unpack and pack again, I will share my day in Los Angeles.
It starts with a trip to the Getty Museum. As with many of my trips, there was not enough time because I was not prepared for the magnitude of the museum. The site and architecture is breath-taking in ways I can’t describe. I did follow a guide through the special exhibit, Woven Gold: Tapestries of Louis XIV. And I would have followed guides throughout the day but had to move quickly because “LA traffic, you know.” Of particular interest was Traversing the Globe through Illuminated Manuscripts, because I was after Hans Schilling’s Barlaam and Josaphat (1469) that contains a page about Judith. The book is on display, but sadly the pages are open to Josaphat Meeting a Blind Man and a Beggar. <sigh> I wonder how often they turn the pages and how long it takes to get back to Judith?
I did see something NOT about Judith but one degree removed from Judith: a painting of Danaë” by Orazio Gentileschi, newly acquired by the museum and prominently displayed. The painting depicts Danaë in her locked room recieving Zeus in the guise of a shower of gold – which results in the birth of Perseus, an event his grandfather tried to prevent because it was foretold his grandson would kill him (Which he did in a freak accident with a discus, go figure). Next to murderous biblical heroines, mythical allergories are a favorite subject, especially when trickery and unforeseen consequences are involved.
Even though the Schilling manuscript was open to the wrong page, I did get to see another item from my catalog: a stage prop from Martha Graham’s 1950 production Judith, representing The Tent of Holofernes. It does not appear to provide protection from sun or rain but it is a substantial garden structure. Plus the guard had to shoo away several school children because it would also make a nice jungle gym.
From the Sculpture Garden, I headed back to Beverly Hills and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Once again, there was not enough time because I was not prepared for the magnitude of the museum complex. I did take a guided tour of their Modern Art collection which was an excellent choice for me given my limited understanding of that period. Learned A Lot about appreciating modern styles in a short amount of time.
The Baroque Collection was my actual destination in order to find the Doccia porcelain of “Judith and Holofernes” (1746-50). Apparently made after a bronze by Agostina Cornacchini, this piece is both delicate and strong with intricate features considering the relatively small size. And I am still a little obsessed with the headboard of the bed.
And then I took a risk. A Huge Risk. Because one of my favorite portrayers of Judith lives and works in LA, I mapped out a plan to go to the gallery where he exhibits. Only, I found he no longer exhibits at that gallery. So I sent an email asking if there was another exhibit space … and his partner invited me to the studio.
That is an invitation I am not going to pass up no mater what the traffic is like.
Thus I had the unexpected pleasure of meeting Emil Kazaz and his muse, Monet. I cannot say enough nice things about the hospitality and generosity of this couple. They spent at least an hour with a stranger discussing our mutual obsession with Judith, their passion for Emil’s art, and his upcoming exhibits in Russia and Dubai.
The visit was electrifying. Not only did I have the opportunity to see his latest Judith IV along with several works in progress but … Emil sketched my portrait! I’m immortal!! Thanks so much again to Monet and Emil.