Monthly Archives: December 2018

Judith, her mammaries and The Favourite

Following a long break, I’m bringing back Judith and her mammaries after viewing Yorgos Lanthimos’s film, The Favourite. Because I recognized those mammaries in the background of numerous scenes in Queen Anne’s bedchamber. Only this time the mammaries being to Bethsheba by Jan Massys. Suggesting once again that all biblical brassieres must have been the same size.

Jan Matsys (1509–1575), “Bathsheba Observed by King David,” first half of 16th century, 110×76 cm, oil on panel, Private collection

Rachel Weisz, left, and Olivia Colman star in Fox Searchlight Pictures’ “THE FAVOURITE.” Copyright Notice: © 2018 Fox Searchlight Pictures.

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You may remember this from the section on the Private Display (12/12/11).   In which Judith has problems with impulse control and shakes the head around, singing “Nanny nanny boo boo.

Jan Massys, “Judith,” c.1530-1570, Palazzo Barberini, Rome, Italy

But if you do not remember, no problem.  Because Jan Massys painted Judith three more times.   Not quite up to the volume of LC the Elder but a good effort.

Jan Massys, 1543, Oil on panel, 102.2 x 75.6 cm, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts, USA


This is the Boston Judith.    I would expect a little more modesty from matron of Massachusetts.   And I have a sneaky suspicion that Massys and Ambrosius Benson used the same model since they have the same misshapen breasts.    Unless that is what breasts looked like in Belgium during the Renaissance.


Jan Massys, “Judith and Holofernes,” 1545-50, Oil on panel, 106 x 75 cm, Louvre, Paris, France


This is the Paris Judith.  In a clever departure from the Boston Judith, Massys has placed the fauchion in her right hand and the head in her left hand instead of the fauchion in her left hand and the head in her right hand.   And pulled up her robe a bit over her pubic bone.


Jan Massys, 1575, Oil on panel, 115 x 80.5 cm, Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Antwerp, Belgium


And this is the Antwerp Judith.   She appears to need a good cleaning because she is not nearly as bright as the Paris Judith.   Or maybe Massys’s eyesight was failing because this was executed at least 25 years after the other two.   Fashion must have changed in those 25 years because he stuck with the same right hand/left hand composition from the Paris Judith but added a gauze-y robe and arm bands.   However, it looks like breasts did not improve in the same time lapse.

But then again, if I were able to maintain perky tits for 250 years, maybe I would not care if they were widely spaced.

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Posted by on December 31, 2018 in Whorey


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