Tag Archives: sculpture

Judith in a metal corset

I am not sure why this is Judith, but I am honored just the same.   Because a lovely figure has been re-purposed out of materials that were cast away.

Katherine Clear, “Judith,” 2006, steel and found objects, 65 x 42 x 12 in,

Katherine Clear, “Judith,” 2006, steel and found objects, 65 x 42 x 12 in,

Katherine Clear, “Judith,” 2006, steel and found objects, 65 x 42 x 12 in,

I wonder what the scraps looked like before Katherine Clear applied them to her art.    I wonder if the scraps themselves suggested the form to the artist – like a statue emerging from marble – or if Clear formed them to a vision she already had.   No matter.   The fact that a coif and a gown can be represented by rusted metal is  miraculous.   And hopeful – that everything has a purpose and beauty can be found anywhere.

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Posted by on August 25, 2012 in Cacciatore


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Judith in two lights

Same basic Judith.  Same composition.  Two different mediums.

Agostino Cornacchini, “Judith and Holofernes,” 1722, Bronze, Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery, Birmingham UK

First, we have bronze.   Which casts Judith in a dark light (yuck, yuck).   Appearing rather sinister.  She gazes down at the severed head in near amazement as her maid crouches to the right and the headless body is splayed to the left.

After Agostino Cornacchini, “Judith and Holofernes,” 1746-50, Doccia porcelain with original wood base, 17 in.without base, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, California, US

Second, we have porcelain.  Which depicts Judith in a delicate aura.  However, the purity of the porcelain does nothing to diminish Judith’s satisfaction with the decapitation.  In fact, her expression conveys even MORE pride in her action.

But the aspect of this piece that intrigues me is the bed.  Actually, what appears to be a carved face on the head of the bed.  It peers so solemnly from beneath the bedcovers – almost as if it is hiding for the murderous deed that has transpired above it.  And its presence is confusing, because at first it seems to be a fourth person in the room.  Among the many decorative motifs that Cornacchini could have used upon the headboard, why did he choose this face and this expression?

Maybe it IS an alternate point of view – indicating that Judith’s story is not all that it seems.

Note: for a more scholarly approach to this piece, see

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Posted by on June 3, 2012 in Glory


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Judith in the garden

Arturo Martini, “Judith and Holofernes,” 1932-33, limestone sculpture, Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo, Nederlands

In the middle of the forest in the middle of the Nederlands stands this statue of Judith by Arturo Martini.   Martini was an Italian sculptor between World War I and II who exhibited a mixture of Classicism and Modernism in his art.   As fate would have it, he became the semi-official sculptor of the fascist regime of Mussolini, working on commissions for civic sculptures.   After the fall of Mussolini – feeling that sculpture had been corrupted by politics – in 1944 he announced the “death of sculpture” in the book La scultura lingua morta (Sculpture a dead language).

Thankfully before sculpture died, Martini used the technique as a means to depict the death of Holofernes – with a Giant Maid holding his severed head atop her own.


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Posted by on April 16, 2012 in Story


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Judith comes unglued

sometimes –
– – – – – – – on a really bad day –
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – you may feel like ripping off your own head.
don’t  – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – it might get lost.

Anthony Gratien, "Love of Holofernes Broken," 2009, basswood sculpture, 80 cm, sold by artquid online broker

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Posted by on April 14, 2012 in Cacciatore


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Judith on the dotted line

Such a lot of material to borrow today.   First I begin with a piece from a photographic essay for the re-opening of the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, in which the subjects selected an artistic representation of the experience of visiting the museum.

Theo Chalmers, “Bill Heine with the sculpture of Judith and Holofernes,” 2009, photograph in series “My Ashmolean”,

My Ashmolean, My Museum is a photographic campaign produced in collaboration with high profile individuals and members of the local community. Each portrait tells a unique story about the Ashmolean’s renowned collections of art and archaeology and the sitter’s relationship with the object.

Give me strength this day.

Bill Heine, host of BBC Oxford’s talk show and owner of the Headington Shark House, has a personal affinity with the Judith and Holofernes story. In his portrait, he stands on front of the Ashmolean’s 17th century marble attributed to Francois Dieussart, which shows Judith’s triumph over the Babylonian general who had laid siege to her home town of Bethulia in Israel.

Bill’s fascinating and varied experiences in his home town of Oxford echo this ageless theme in art history; a fierce defense of one’s home and a willingness to battle for one’s beliefs. Never one for the straight-forward story, Bill challenges you to decide: is he Judith or Holofernes?

Second, I have material that relates to the sculpture itself  –  the lack of certain identity and the poor treatment over time.

Francois Dieussart, “Judith and Holofernes”, mid 17th century, marble sculpture, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, England, UK

The unhappy history of neglect, sale and dispersal suffered by the ‘Arundel Marbles’, means that Dieussart’s contributions to their restoration–many of which were removed in the era of archaeological correctness–are nigh impossible to assess. What has become of the items by him enumerated in the two shipments from Rome is also unclear. There is, however, in the Ashmolean Museum one statue that … may be by him (18). This depicts Judith with the truncated head of Holofernes and has been severely weathered and battered over the years. The very visible drill-marks in the curls of hair–both of heroine and victim–the fringes on her gown and the treatment of the jewel at her bosom all find parallels in other, definite works. The statue serves to give an idea of what the ‘modern’ marbles in the two shipments may have looked like. As this very obvious subject is not listed in either inventory, it may have been carved during the sculptor’s five-year sojourn in London. (1)

What does it all mean?   That neither time or travel or weather or uncertain origins can dim the power of Judith’s story.   And even with one arm, she still has a grip on the situation.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

(1)  Avery, Charles. The collector Earl and his modern marbles: Thomas Howard and Francois Dieussart. Apollo Magazine, Jun 1, 2006.
(2)  Avery, Charles in the catalogue for the sale of The Arundel Marbles and Other Sculpture from Farley Court and Hall Barn, Christie’s, London, 10 December 1985, p. 16, discussing fragmentary torsos from the Arundel Collection which are neither Roman nor Greek antiquities; Penny. op. cit. in n. 7 above, pp. 35-36, no. 473.

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Posted by on April 12, 2012 in Story


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Judith is Ms New Booty

Herman Feoktistov, “Judith,” 2003, bronze, 39 x 24.8 x 12 cm,

As sung by Holofernes:

I found you Ms New Booty
get it together and bring it back to me
hit the players club
for about month or two
put a tan on it then see what it do

Get it right

Get it right

Get it tight

girl I don’t need you, but chu need me
take it off, let it flop, shake it freely
and I don’t tell stories, I let em tell itself
and you aint gotta sell sex, girl, it sells itself, like nothing else
yeah I’m a country boy, but that big city bottom fill me up with joy
aint life grand (life’s grand) live it up daddy
here go da whisper song, baby this is us ready?
put it on me enthusiastically
what ever it is that chu do, you do it admirably
and I aint choose it, that thang chose me
its bubba n kane ying yang, all the way insane

lyrics by Bubba Sparxxx

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Posted by on March 7, 2012 in Whorey


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Judith in the Vatican, again

Continuing with Judith in strange locations –

Leonard Baskin, “Judith with the Head Holofernes,” 1972, bronze sculpture, Vatican Museums, Vatican City

How does a rabbi’s son end up with three sculptures in the Vatican museum?

I wrote about Baskin before (Judith with a temper, 12/15/2011).   At that time I read that three Baskin sculptures were located in the Vatican Museum (1).   Wonder of wonders, now that I go back to trace my steps the internet search sends me to … me.    So in this alternate universe where I am now “an expert,”   I look again and find that “Andromache (aka Mourning Woman)” (1971) has high-tailed herself to the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University and “Isaak” (1973) flew out to the Honolulu Academy of Arts.    I think he got the better deal.

As far as i can tell, Judith is still in the Vatican.   She appears to be swathed from head to toe in fabric.   Plain.  Resolute.  Without sensation but in control.

Leonard Baskin

And Holofernes’ head.  Does it favor Leonard Baskin?   Or do all bearded men just look the same to me?

(1) Leonard Baskin on  Facebook, 10/1/2010

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Posted by on January 27, 2012 in Glory


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