Category Archives: Cacciatore

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

Judith in less than six feet

Judith () Malyk

Alex Malyk (1959- ), Judith and Holofernes, , oil on canvas, 31.5 x 43.3 x 0.8 in,

Well, my friends, it’s Pandemic time. Time to maintain your distance. Time to shelter in. Time to wash your hands like you never have before.

Time to post to your blog.

So I restart my continuous search for Judith with an example of what NOT to do when it comes to social distancing.

And don’t touch your face. Or let anyone else touch your face

Just think how that might have saved Holofernes.

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Posted by on April 7, 2020 in Cacciatore, No category


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Judith has two Masters


“The Louvre just made a new acquisition! This small-size copper representing Judith and Holofernes will soon be in the museum. We can see on this painting a Judith who has just accomplished her mission: to decapitate Holofernes. A maid is handing her a bag to take away the head… Who could have painted this work with refined colours? ūüĒé The doubt remains, and we still hesitate between Georges Lallemant and his master, Jacques de Bellange. Strong similarities can be found in the work of the two artists from Lorraine, but neither of them have paintings strictly comparable to this one…” (June 19, 2018)

Georges Lallemant or Jacques Bellange, Judith with the head of Holofernes, The Louvre, Paris, FR

The competitors:¬†Jacques Bellange (c. 1575‚Äď1616) and¬†Georges Lallemand (c. 1575‚Äď1636) –¬†both of¬†Nancy in the northeast of France, which was originally located in the Duchy of Lorraine.

Bellange was known for¬†etchings and some drawings, which are the only verified works that survive today. These works are considered to be striking examples¬†Northern Mannerist old master prints, described as –

… the last in a long evolution of that particular type of Mannerism in which a private mystical form of religious emotion is expressed in terms which appear at first sight to be merely those of empty aristocratic elegance. The founder of this tradition was Parmigianino, who invented many of the formulas used by his successors, such as the elongation of the figures, the small heads on long necks, the sweeping draperies, the strained, nervous poses of the hands, and the sweet ecstatic smile which those of Protestant upbringing find it hard not to think of as sickly and insincere, but which incorporates a particular kind of mystical feeling.(1)

<snort> Sir Anthony Blunt has such a way with words.

Or how about this analysis by¬†Erica Tietze-Conrat –

The way in which the artist sees forms is strongly sexual, perversely sexual; and entirely genuine, since it mirrors the artist’s sub-conscious. Otherwise he would never have drawn Saint John in a series of Apostles in so female a fashion…The angel of the Annunciation is a hermaphrodite, but not with mixed but with marked characteristics of either sex… (2)

Not exactly flattering. Unless angels ARE meant to be impartial embodiments of both genders …

Sadly although it is recorded that Bellange painted a number of portraits, none are known to have survived and no very useful descriptions of his work exist.  However, there are paintings in major museums that are attributed to him for comparison (Lamentation of Christ in the Hermitage Museum, Beggar Looking Through His Hat in the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore).


Jacques Bellange (1575‚Äď1616), Beggar Looking through His Hat, c. 1615, tempera on unprimed canvas, 145 cm x 86.5 cm, The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, Maryland, US


In contrast, there are surviving examples of the paintings of Lallemand. HIs style is described as eclectic, combining Flemish realist and mannerist influences. There is even a possible (unflattering) self-portrait.

Georges Lallemand, Georges and the Bowl of Broth, 1610s, oil on canvas, 111 cm x 81 cm, National Museum (MNW), Warsaw. Poland


So which do you choose? Personally, I think an up-close inspection will be required before I can decide. Now where is that passport?


(1) Griffiths, Antony and Hartley, Craig.  Jacques Bellange, c.1575-1616, Printmaker of Lorraine. British Museum Press, 1997. Sir Anthony Blunt quoted on p105.

(2) Tietze-Conrat, Erica. Der französische Kupferstich der Renaissance (The French Copperplate of the Renaissance). Munich, GR: Kurt Wolff, 1925.

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Posted by on June 24, 2018 in Cacciatore


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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 Wilan√≥w, 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 Acad√©mie to paint as his morceaux de r√©ception portraits of the sculptor Jean Raon (1630-1707) and the painter Antoine Coypel, he failed to present either picture and in 1709 the agr√©ment 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 √ó 81 cm, Mus√©e 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 Рthe Cranach with the long neck Рdiscussed 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

+  +  +  +  +  +   +  +  +   +  +  +   +  +  +   +  +  +   +  +  +   +  +  +   +  +  +   +  +  +   +  +  +   +  +  +   +  +  +   +  +  +   +  +  +   +  +  +

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 √Ďusta 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 √Ďusta 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 C√°pac 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 √Ďusta 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¬†fianc√©. 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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Judith and the surname

This is the work of Gerrit Pietersz of the Dutch Golden Age Рor is it?  Because what is art history without a little confusion.

Judith (1605) Gerrit Pietersz

Gerrit Pietersz (1566-1608), “Judith with the Head of Holofernes,” 1605, oil on canvas, 122.5 x 107.5 cm, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, NL


Gerrit is known to be the brother of Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck (1562-1621) – one of the first major keyboard composers of Europe who helped establish the north German organ tradition. ¬†Their father,¬†organist Pieter Swybbertszoon, died¬†in 1573 – and their mother¬†died in 1585¬†– leaving 23-year-old¬†Jan Pieterszoon with¬†responsibility for his younger brother and sister. ¬†When Jan first began to publish music in 1594, he¬†adopted his mother’s last name; “Sweelinck” for reasons that are unknown. ¬†Because why would he not wish to be a¬†Swybbertszoon? ¬†For years, it was assumed that¬†Gerrit Pietersz also took his mother’s name – and much of his work was attributed to “Gerrit Pietersz¬†Sweelinck” (1) – when in fact, he never did¬†use that surname¬†and the correct name on his paintings should be¬†Gerrit Pietersz.

Which brings into question the concept of surnames and its place in history. ¬†The concept of a surname evolved from the medieval practice called a byname. In situations where more than one person had the same name,¬†a byname would be used to distinguish the two – which happened more often as communities became more dispersed. ¬†A byname was¬†descriptive in order to¬†facilitate the differentiation, and they were most commonly based on 1)¬†occupation, 2) place name, 3) geographic feature, 4) familial relationship, 5) a personal characteristic, or 6)¬†patronage. ¬†Bynames or surnames were somewhat fluid in the Netherlands until 1811, when Napoleonic Code required registration of everything and thus standardization of names was required. ¬†But¬†in¬†Jan and Gerrit’s lifetime of the late 16th and early 17th century , Jan went by Peterson (Pieterszoon) and Gerrit went by Peters (Pietersz) – both after their father Pieter. Until one day Jan got a wild hair and added his mother’s surname.

So now I am left to wonder:  what ever happened to the given name Swybbert and why did it decline in popularity?

And unfortunately that is the most interesting fact I could dig up on Gerrit Pietersz.   Looks like Judith may feel the same way.
(!) Haverkamp-Begemann, et al., Fifteenth- to Eighteenth-century European Drawings: Central Europe, The Robert Lehman Collection, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1999, p 178.

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Posted by on January 29, 2015 in Cacciatore


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