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Judith in the Pink

14 Dec

“In the pink” means in very good health, very good condition, physically and emotionally.  While del Moro’s Judith obviously fits this description, Holofernes obviously does not.

Battista del Moro (1514-1573/75), “Judith with the head of Holofernes,” c1550-1555, Oil on canvas, Florence, Fondazione di Studi di Storia dell’Arte Roberto Longhi

 

This Judith emerged from the private collection of Roberto Longhi to be part of the exhibition “From Giotto to Caravaggio The passions of Roberto Longhi”  presented March 27 to July 20, 2015 at the Jacquemart-André Museum in Paris. The focus of the exhibition was a comparison of “the works of Caravaggio and those of his imitators, showing the influence of this artist’s themes and style on his contemporaries, first in Italy and then throughout Europe.” The exhibit also provided a glimpse into the artistic vision and careful collection of Roberto Longhi, considered the epitome of an art connoisseur and leading authority on Renaissance artists – especially Caravaggio.

As part of this exhibit, Battista del Moro comes centuries after Giotto (c.1270-1337) and decades before Caravaggio (1571-1610) – but this work is included as a possible “training piece” for Carravagio. It is speculated that he would have seen something like this and noted –

Del Moro plays wonderfully on the contrasts, in the idealized face of Judith and the more popular of her maid and between the decorative richness of the decor and the funeral character of the scene, accentuated by the macabre detail of the sinister look of Holofernes.

I don’t know that I would go so far as to describe this scene as funereal – although it is certainly macabre. Funereal suggests that there is grief involved and some tribute to the deceased. Instead, Judith and the maid seem anxious to escape and not at all troubled about having decapitated the general – and  I doubt if they will ask any one to prepare a eulogy for Holofernes. But the tension in the scene – the turn of Judith’s face away from the viewer, the maid receding in the shadow – those are elements that may have influenced Carravaggio in his own depiction of the carnage. And of course he made the scene darker – much, much darker – and less opulent.

Of course, I always worry about those jewels getting in the way and stains creeping onto the lovely fabrics. It would be a shame to mess up that lovely shade of pink with blood splatter.

 

 

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Posted by on December 14, 2017 in No category

 

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