Category Archives: Cacciatore

a hunter’s stew with tomato and herbs – in which Judith is depicted in an unusual or undefinable style

Judith, meet Bacchus

There is more here than meets the eye. More pursuit of freedom and ecstasy.

Judith () Alexis Grimou

Alexis Grimou (1678-1733), “Judith with the Head of Holofernes,” oil on canvas, 88 x 72 cm, Museum of King John III’s Palace at Wilanów, Warsaw, PL


This is a Judith by Alexis Grimou, a French painter who taught himself to paint by copying works of Van Dyck and Rembrandt.  According the to font of all knowledge, Wikipedia: “He painted mainly spirited portraits or portrait scenes, such as women singing and playing musical instruments. He was admitted to the Academy of Paris in 1705, but resigned complaining about the mediocrity of his peers.”  I imagine that observation made him a less-than-popular-guy.  Actually the French Wikipedia says “but his conduct, together with the insolence did off the list in 1709.”  Yes, a slightly different story.  It seems the truth is somewhere in between according to another source: “Although instructed by the Académie to paint as his morceaux de réception portraits of the sculptor Jean Raon (1630-1707) and the painter Antoine Coypel, he failed to present either picture and in 1709 the agrément was annulled.”

But he seems to have enjoyed himself in the ensuing years, as revealed in his self-portraits.  His style is described as “earthy” and harkens back to the Dutch Golden Age for portraits that defied the ascendent French classicism of the Academy.  Amidst this freedom of style, it is curious that he would have selected Judith as a theme – so it is likely this is a commissioned portrait in which the client selected Judith as a historical character to portray.  However, she looks a little uncomfortable with her role – too bad she did not join in the drinking.


Alexis Grimou (1680-1733), “Toper,” Oil on canvas. 101 x 81 cm, Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, Massachusettes, USA


Alexis Grimou (1680-1733), “Toper,” Oil on canvas. 116.5 x 89.5 cm, National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK


Alexis Grimou (1680-1733), “Bacchus Self-Portrait,” 1728, Oil on canvas, 101 × 81 cm, Musée Magnin, Dijon, FR




Posted by on February 27, 2015 in Cacciatore


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Judith and the Empty Basin

Judith (1530-40) Ewer Basin, Deruta, Italy

Unknown artist, Molded Ewer Basin with Judith Holding the Head of Holofernes, c. 1530-40, earthenware with tin glaze (maiolica), 3.3 x 39.1 cm, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvannia, US

From the Philadelphia Museum of Art description:

An embossed metal basin probably inspired this design, of which only six examples are known, each with a different central image. In Florence and elsewhere, the biblical heroine Judith sometimes represented civic victory over a powerful foe; however, her depiction as a nude figure is unusual, as is the superior quality of the painting.

They make it sound like they rarely saw a nude Judith or a Judith that was skillfully painted.  Obviously never read this blog.

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Posted by on February 25, 2015 in Cacciatore


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Judith has a follower

It’s St. Valentines’s Day  – a retail holiday to make lots of people feel like lovers and others feel like losers.  So it seems appropriate to post today on a Judith that makes me feel a little lovelorn – a work of art that has no name and no home.

Judith (early 1500s) Follower of Massimo Stanzione

Follower of Massimo Stanzione, “Judith with the Head of Holofernes,” oil on canvas, 104 x 82 cm

Previously I have explained that much of my time on this blog is invested in searching images.  One of those searches uncovered this Judith on  I am telling you this because I can’t find one other blessed scrap of information about it anywhere. She seems to have been abandoned. Here are the few things I do know:

  • On October 16, 2011, I wrote about Massimo Stanzione’s “Judith with the Head of Holofernes” that is housed at MMA in “Judith in a clutch”
  • Stanzione was an Italian Baroque painter, mainly active in Naples, influenced by Caravaggio, Carracci and Vouet,
  • He worked alongside Artemisia Gentileschi during the time she was in Naples.
  • While most of his themes were religious, one of his well-known secular paintings is “Woman in Neapolitan Costume” – (c.1635) which in some ways resembles this Judith.

Massimo Stanzione (1586-1656, “Woman in Neapolitan Costume,” 1635, oil on canvas, 46.75 x 38.25 in, Legion of Honor, San Francisco, California, USA

How and why a painting is determined to be the work of a “follower” is a mystery to me. It doesn’t rival the quality of Stanzione’s work but the skirt has a realistic texture, the red fabric of the bodice and turban are vibrant, the tassels are especially jaunty and she sports a lovely necklace.  Perhaps this created by someone in the workshop who was trained in the details of apparel but not-so-much the proportion or portraiture.  Still, I find it sad that the artist was left with no name of his/her own and that the work is not housed somewhere to be admired. If anyone knows where this ended up or how much it sold for at auction, I would love to know.  Or if it is lying around in your attic, I will volunteer to take it off your hands.  I can always use another follower – or another Valentine.

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Posted by on February 14, 2015 in Cacciatore


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Judith: The Pinkprint

Honestly?  This isn’t about Judith.   It is about something Judith-like.   And a little departure is good from time to time. A little humor is even better.

Plus Nicki Minaj will gladly welcome free promotion of the song “Pills n Potions” from her third studio album, The Pinkprint (2014).

Nicki Minaj & Jayceon Terrell Taylor : Pills N Potions

Nicki Minaj & Jayceon Terrell Taylor from Pills N Potions, 2014

Nicki Minaj & Jayceon Terrell Taylor : Pills N Potions 2

Nicki Minaj & Jayceon Terrell Taylor from Pills N Potions, 2014


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Posted by on February 13, 2015 in Cacciatore


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Judith makes a fashion statement

In 2012, Revista Imagen and the Museo de Arte de Ponce in Puerto Rico commissioned a group of talented Fashion Designers to each create a dress based on an iconic work of art in their permanent collection.  The designs were then auctioned to raise money for the museum.

Judith (2012) Hector Omar

Hector Omar, Dress inspired by Cranach’s Judith with the head of Holofernes, 2012, Twill satin striped with ocher and burgundy colors and detailed pailletes, designed for Museo de Arte de Ponce, Ponce, PR


Behold the creation of Hector Omar, inspired by one of my MOST favorite portraits of Judith in the world – the Cranach with the long neck – discussed January 19, 2012.

Judith (2012) Hector Omar - detail

Hector Omar, Dress inspired by Cranach’s Judith with the head of Holofernes, 2012

c.1537, Oil on panel, 91.4 x 63.5 cm, Museo de Arte de Ponce, Ponce, Puerto Rico

Lucas Cranach Elder, (1472-1553) “Judith with the head of Holofernes”, c.1537, Oil on panel, 91.4 x 63.5 cm, Museo de Arte de Ponce, Ponce, Puerto Rico


I’ll be honest about two things.  First, I do not have anywhere to go where I could wear this dress. Okay, maybe once or twice a year I could come up with a place to go that is deserving of something elegant.  Even then the second thing deserving honesty is:  I don’t think this is my size.  But assuming I get one arm and a leg in the garment, I would love to see the effect of the pailletes (flakes) as I slink into the room and shimmy on the dance floor.

As the designer describes the dress in his own words:

“The work has several elements that describe my aesthetic: fragility, mystery and power. The colors and the theme of death played an important role. The linear contrast is reflected through the lines and the repetition of the effect of pailletes (flakes) which in turn, simulate modern blades that give geometrical and architectural sense. The color provides the dress with a medieval air of royalty, but it remains contemporary and minimalist at once.”

Plus the embellishment would cut down on the need for a necklace.  Maybe I could use the money I saved to buy a tiara?  Oh yes, this one will do.

Modern Yellow Gold Parure Tiara (1997) for Queen Sonja 10

Modern Yellow Gold Tiara, diamonds set in yellow gold with orange topaz or green tourmaline interchangeably, Queen Sonja of Norway; from her husband, King Harald V of Norway, on the occasion of her 60th birthday in 1997

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To follow-up on the progress of Hector Omar, take a look at his collection for Spring Summer 2015 courtesy of Shawn Punch Fashion Photography as well as Omar’s Facebook page.

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Posted by on February 10, 2015 in Cacciatore


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Judith and the Inca Princess

Judith (1800) Inca Princess

Unknown, “Inca Princess (Gran Ñusta Mama Occollo),” c.1800, oil on canvas mounted on board, Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO US


Revisionist history is always so fun.  You can make yourself into a saint or a savior – but no one ever comes out a sinner.  In this painting of the late colonial period of Peru, an ancestor as been posthumously portrayed as Gran Ñusta Mama Occollo – a mythical  deity of motherhood and fertility In legend she has two possible origins:

  • daughter of Inti (God of the Sun) and his sister-wife Mama Killa (Goddess of the Moon, marriage and the menstrual cycle) – OR
  • daughter of Viracocha (God of Everything) and Mama Qucha (Goddess of the Sea)

In either case, she married her brother Manco Cápac and came to earth from a cave (Pacaritambo Paqariq Tampu – 25 km south of Cusco) with a golden staff and the instructions to create a Temple of the Sun in Cusco – which meant uniting tribes to conquer the inhabitants of the Cusco Valley.

With regards to this painting:

The inscription claims that she was the first Christian Inca woman in the Andes and that when a man tried to violate her vow of chastity, she fought and beheaded him. In doing so, she recreated a feat credited to Mama Occllo, the first queen of the Inca dynasty, who conquered Cuzco by decapitating an enemy. Her deed also echoes that of the Old Testament’s Judith, who saved the Jewish nation by beheading the Assyrian general Holofernes.

– which is a little confusing since it sounds like Gran Ñusta Mama Occollo most likely invaded and conquered the original inhabitants of Cusco versus defended her city like Judith but … why bother with details when you are revising history based on a myth.

I’m just glad they included the maid.

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Posted by on February 6, 2015 in Cacciatore


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Judith is in stitches

Judith (1600's mid) Band sampler - full

Unknown, Band sampler, mid 1600s, Linen plain weave embroidered with linen, silk, and metallic thread, 65 x 18.1 cm, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA



In country estate, sometime around the English Civil War –

Grandmother:  Oh darling, what a lovely sampler you have made!  How long did it take you to do this?

Granddaughter:  Only 6 years. Every day. All day.

Grandmother:  And tell me about the stitches.

Granddaughter:  Well there’s chain stitch, running stitch, satin stitch, cross stitch, back stitch, stem stitch, whipstitching, pea stitch …

Grandmother: Thrilling that you learned so much. And …

Granddaughter: … single Brussels, Corded single Brussels, whipped single Brussels, Double Brussels, Treble Brussels, …

Grandmother: Yes dear but …

Granddaughter: … buttonhole, twisted buttonhole, whipped twisted buttonhole, corded twisted buttonhole. knotted buttonhole, knotted single buttonhole, knotted double buttonhole …

Grandmother:  Oh my, I never expected …

Granddaughter: … plain twisted bar, double twisted bar, buttonholed bars. 

Grandmother:  [waiting]  Are you quite finished?  You’re sure you didn’t miss one?

Granddaughter: Pretty sure.

Grandmother:  Then tell me about the top bar.  Isn’t that Judith and Holofernes?

Granddaughter: No actually, that’s my fiancé. After waiting to marry me for six years, when I showed him the “almost” finished product I planned to display prominently in our new home, he said he did not care for it and planned to give it to his mistress as a parting gift. So I looked her up and we decided he was not worth the fuss. Amazing what one can accomplish with embroidery shears, isn’t it?


Judith (1600s mid) Band sampler - detail

Unknown, Band sampler detail of Judith and Holofernes, mid 1600s, Linen plain weave embroidered with linen, silk, and metallic thread, 65 x 18.1 cm, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA


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Posted by on January 31, 2015 in Cacciatore


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