I am having trouble finding the words I need to describe this work by Karel Trakter of Bilbao, Spain. Trakter’s other work is often focused on figures – flowing in motion and striking exaggerated poses. Dancers and models. Long limbs.
But here is Judith. Static. Crouching. Clutching the detached head of Holofernes as light radiates from behind.
Or is she clutching the head? The story leads us to believe that the decapitation was a necessary means to the end of defending Bethulia – thus it makes sense that she would clutch the head. Grip, grasp, clasp, clench, hold tightly or eagerly so the prize would not be lost.
But if you did not know the story – AND if you did not look at the blood oozing from the severed head onto Judith’s thigh – AND if you only consider Judith’s face, she seems to be looking with reverence at the head. Very peaceful and serene – almost admiring and appreciative, almost caressing the head instead of clutching it. Like a Madonna. Am I reading this wrong?
Or maybe she is simply tremendously satisfied with her accomplishment and is gently fondling the head as her cherished trophy.
In any case, this work by Trakter is mesmerizing in the many and changing interpretations and in the tension and emotion of the composition. It is worthy of study for a long time.
And for those who are so fortunate, here is Judith in Restaurante Kasko for a public exhibition of Trakter’s work. If you hurry, it opened a week ago and is probably still there!!
And you will have the added pleasure of viewing these intoxicating works by Trakter, which show his talents with dazzling color. Shh … don’t make Judith jealous.