Saturday, November 28, 2015

42 works, RELIGIOUS ART - Paintings from the Bible by the Old Masters, 31 Artists Embedded with Nebuchadnezzar's Campaign against the city of Bethulia

lefebvre, jules joseph judith | beauties | sotheby's n09499lot8tjrten:
Jules Joseph Lefebvre, 1836 - 1912
JUDITH, c. 1892
Oil on canvas
36 1/2 by 24 in., 92.5 by 61 cm

Jules Joseph Lefebvre (14 March 1834 – 24 February 1912) was a French figure painter, educator and theorist. Lefebvre was born in Tournan-en-Brie, Seine-et-Marne, on 14 March 1834. He entered the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts in 1852 and was a pupil of Léon Cogniet.,He won the prestigious Prix de Rome in 1861. Between 1855 and 1898, he exhibited 72 portraits in the Paris Salon. In 1891, he became a member of the French Académie des Beaux-Arts.

He was professor at the Académie Julian in Paris. Lefebvre is chiefly important as an excellent and sympathetic teacher who numbered many Americans among his 1500 or more pupils. Among his famous students were Fernand Khnopff, Kenyon Cox, Félix Vallotton, Ernst Friedrich von Liphart, Georges Rochegrosse, the Scottish-born landscape painter William Hart, Walter Lofthouse Dean, and Edmund C. Tarbell, who became an American Impressionist painter.

Many of his paintings are single figures of beautiful women.
Lefebvre died in Paris on 24 February 1912. More

It was the twelfth year of Nebuchadnezzar, who reigned over the Assyrians in the great city of Nineveh. Arphaxad was then reigning over the Medes in Ecbatana. 

The Envoys Return to Nabuchodonosor

Illumination, ca. 1430

(58 × 87 mm)

Museum Royal Library, The Hague

King Nebuchadnezzar sends delegates to several neighboring countries and regions, asking for alliance. From Persia to Egypt, from Lebanon to Judea, everyone ignores his request – who does he think he is? When the convoy returns with this message, Nebuchadnezzar flies into a rage.

Nebuchadnezzar dispatched his general Holofernes to take vengeance on the nations of the west that had withheld their assistance to his reign.

Holofernes Burns a City
Illumination, ca. 1430
(62 × 90 mm)
Museum Royal Library, The Hague

Holofernes occupied all the nations along the sea coast and destroyed all the gods of the nations, so that all nations would worship Nebuchadnezzar alone. 

Achior, the leader of all the Ammonites, briefs Holofernes on Israel's sacred history and declares that Israel will be invincible unless it sins against God. 

Ichior before Holofernes
illumination,  ca. 1430
 (64 × 88 mm) 
Museum Royal Library, The Hague

Achior Pleading with Holofernes for the Israelites, from The Story of Judith and Holofernes
Maarten van Heemskerck (Netherlandish, Heemskerck 1498–1574 Haarlem)
Possibly etched by Dirk Volckertsz Coornhert (Netherlandish, Amsterdam 1519/22–1590 Gouda)
Achior Pleading with Holofernes for the Israelites, from The Story of Judith and Holofernes
9 7/16 x 7 9/16 in. (24 x 19.2 cm)
Metropolitan Museum of Art

Holofernes and his followers were angered by Achior. They rebuked him, insisting that there was no god other than Nebuchadnezzar. He orders Achior bound and taken to Bethulia, where he can share the Israelites' fate. The Ammonite leader is treated with hospitality by the citizens of the city, who welcome him into their assembly. Holefernes arrays his troops for battle, but the Edomites in his coalition convince him to lay siege to the city instead, by taking control of its water supply, which lies outside the city walls. 

The Flight of Achior from the Camp of Holofernes
Paolo Veronese, (circle of)
The Flight of Achior from the Camp of Holofernes
Oil on canvas, 
27 x 57 cm
The Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology

Paolo Caliari, known as Paolo Veronese (1528 – 19 April 1588) was an Italian Renaissance painter based in Venice, most famous for large history paintings of both religious and mythological subjects, such as The Wedding at Cana and The Feast in the House of Levi. With Titian, who was at least a generation older, and Tintoretto, ten years older, he was one of the "great trio that dominated Venetian painting of the cinquecento" or 16th-century late Renaissance.[1] Veronese is known as a supreme colorist, and after an early period with Mannerist influence turned to a more naturalist style influenced by Titian. More

The general laid siege to Bethulia, commonly believed to be Meselieh, and the city almost surrendered. Holofernes' advance stopped the water supply to Bethulia. The people lost heart and encouraged Ozias and their rulers to give way. The leaders vowed to surrender if no help arrived within five days. 

Bethulia is situated on high hills and easy to defend against attackers, even if they are 180,000 Assyrians in all. The Assyrian warlord Holophernes decides it is probably smarter to not attack but to cut off the town's water supply
After several days, thirst strikes. The town inhabitants go to Ozias, ruler of the town, and complain about his unwillingness to negotiate with the Assyrians. Ozias decides to wait a further 5 days – if no divine intervention takes place, he will try to make peace with the Assyrians after all.

The Citizens of Bethulia Complain about the Lack of Water
Illumination,  ca. 1430
(52 × 88 mm)
Museum Royal Library, The Hague

File:August Riedel Judith 1840.jpg
August Riedel (1802–1883)
Judith, c. 1840
Oil on canvas
131 × 96 cm (51.6 × 37.8 in)
Neue Pinakothek,  Munich, Germany

Johann Friedrich Ludwig Heinrich August Riedel (25 December 1799, Bayreuth - 6 August 1883, Rome) was a German painter.

The son of architect Karl Christian Riedel, August Riedel attended the Academy of Fine Arts, Munich, from 1820 on, where he proved to have an eye for color. He developed his sense of color further in Italy, where he moved in 1828.  More

Judith is a rich, pious and attractive widow in the besieged city of Bethulia. When she hears that the City Fathers have decided to surrender in five days, she sends for Ozias and the other elders. She prophetically proclaims that to surrender to Holofernes' would be sin. "If we are captured, all Judea will be captured and our sanctuary will be plundered; and he (God) will exact of us the penalty for its desecration," she argues. 

Paolo Veronese
Judith Receiving the Ancients of Bethulia
Oil on canvas
27 x 57 cm
The Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology Oxford, England, UK

Philip Galle (Netherlandish, 1537-1612)
after Maarten van Heemskerck (Dutch, 1498-1574)
Judith Addressing the Elders of Bethulia, plate three from The Story of Judith and Holofernes, 1564
Engraving in black on ivory laid paper
202 x 248 mm (image); 204 x 250 mm (plate); 233 x 284 mm (sheet)
Art Institute of Chicago

Judith declares that she herself will become God's agent of deliverance. She prays desperately to God to allow her to use "deceitful words" to defeat the Assyrians. She then attires herself glamorously, receiving the praise of the people of Bethulia as she leaves through the city gate together with her maid. 

Paolo Veronese
Judith leaving Bethulia
Oil on canvas
27 x 57 cm
The Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, Oxford, England, UK

She is immediately arrested by an Assyrian patrol, but convinces them that she has useful information for Holofernes. She is consequently taken to him, amidst great excitement on account of her unrivaled beauty. 

Paolo Veronese
Judith  falling to her knees
Oil on canvas
27 x 57 cm
The Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, Oxford, England, UK

Holofernes assures Judith that she will not be harmed if she is willing to serve his master, Nebuchadnezzar. She confirms the report of Achior the Ammonite regarding the Israelites' invincibility. Then Holofernes said to her: "Take courage, lady; have no fear in your heart! Never have I harmed anyone who chose to serve Nebuchadnezzar, king of all the earth. Nor would I have raised my spear against your people who dwell in the mountain region, had they not despised me and brought this upon themselves. But now tell me why you fled from them and came to us. In any case, you have come to safety. Take courage! Your life is spared tonight and for the future. No one at all will harm you. Rather, you will be well treated, as are all the servants of my lord, King Nebuchadnezzar."

Jose Teofilo de Jesus
Judith and Holofernes, c. 1835
Oil on canvas
47.5 × 64 cm
Museu de Arte da Bahia, Salvador, Brazil

José Teófilo de Jesus (Bahia, 1758 - Salvador, in July of 19 1847) was a painter and decorator from Brazil, a most noted representatives of Bahia School of painting.

His work is eclectic, and is characterized by illustrating the transition from Baroque to the Rococo, his sketch features are neoclassical, creatively adapting the legacy aesthetic, and formulating it with a typically Brazilian language. He seems to have led a simple life, of which little is known, althoug his prestige as an artist in was great. His works are seemingly wide, but a good number of works that are identified withhis name have sustained their assignment only by oral tradition. Although he has been recognized by experts as one of the greats of Brazilian Baroque, his history is still full of gaps and uncertainties, and needs more specialized studies. He has not yet become known to the general public. More

However, she reports that the people of both Bethulia and Jerusalem have been so hard pressed by the siege that they are about to sin egregiously by consuming sacred food items dedicated to God. She explains that this very situation is what prompted her own decision to come over to the Assyrian side, rather than to share in the Israelites' now certain doom.

Paolo Veronese
Judith feasted by Holofernes
Oil on canvas
27 x 57 cm
The Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, Oxford, England, UK

She promises to act as Holofernes' agent to tell him when these sins have been committed, and thus when it is safe for him to attack. Holofernes agrees to the plan and marvels at Judith's wisdom, promising her rich rewards. He offers her a sumptuous meal, but she piously declines to eat the non-kosher food. She has brought her own supplies in a bag,

Then the servants of Holofernes led Judith into the tent, where she slept until midnight. Just before dawn, she rose & sent this message to Holofernes, "Give orders, my lord, to let your handmaid go out for prayer." So Holofernes ordered his bodyguards not to hinder her. Thus she stayed in the camp three days. Each night she went out to the ravine of Bethulia, where she washed herself at the spring of the camp. After bathing, she besought the Lord, the God of Israel, to direct her actions for the triumph of his people. Then she returned purified to the tent & remained there, until her food was brought to her toward evening. 

Lucas Cranach the Elder
Judith Dining with Holofernes, c. 1531
Oil on panel, 98 × 72 cm
Museum Schloß Friedenstein, Gotha, Germany

Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472 – 16 October 1553) was a German Renaissance painter and printmaker in woodcut and engraving. He was court painter to the Electors of Saxony for most of his career, and is known for his portraits, both of German princes and those of the leaders of the Protestant Reformation, whose cause he embraced with enthusiasm, becoming a close friend of Martin Luther. He also painted religious subjects, first in the Catholic tradition, and later trying to find new ways of conveying Lutheran religious concerns in art. He continued throughout his career to paint nude subjects drawn from mythology and religion. He had a large workshop and many works exist in different versions; his son Lucas Cranach the Younger, and others, continued to create versions of his father's works for decades after his death. Lucas Cranach the Elder has been considered the most successful German artist of his time. More

On the fourth day, Holofernes determines that he must have his way sexually with the alluring Judith. Holofernes gave a banquet for his servants alone, to which he did not invite any of the officers. And he said to Bagoas, the eunuch in charge of his household, "Go and persuade this Hebrew woman in your care to come and to eat and drink with us. It would be a disgrace for us to have such a woman with us without enjoying her company. If we do not entice her, she will laugh us to scorn.” So the servant Bagoas came to Judith & said, "So fair a maiden should not be reluctant to come to my lord to be honored by him, to enjoy drinking wine with us, and to be like one of the Assyrian women who live in the palace of Nebuchadnezzar.” ​ She replied, "Who am I to refuse my lord? Whatever is pleasing to him I will promptly do. This will be a joy for me till the day of my death." 

Still from the American silent film Judith of Bethulia (1914) with Henry B. Walthall as Holofernes and Blanche Sweet as Judith, from page 17 of the September 1921 Motion Picture Age, c. September 1921

Thereupon she proceeded to dress in her most festive garments & all her feminine adornments. Meanwhile her maid went ahead to spread out on the ground for her in front of Holofernes the fleece Bagoas had furnished for her daily use in reclining at her dinner. Then Judith came in & reclined on it. The heart of Holofernes was in rapture over her, & his spirit was shaken. He was burning with the desire to possess her. He had been biding his time to seduce her from the day he first saw her. Holofernes said to her, "Drink and be merry with us!" Judith replied, "I will gladly drink, my lord, for at no time since I was born have I ever enjoyed life as much as I do today." She then took the food her maid had prepared, and ate & drank in his presence 

Paolo Veronese
Judith about to kill Holofernes
Oil on canvas
27 x 57 cm
The Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, Oxford, England, UK

Holofernes, charmed by her, drank a great quantity of wine, more than he had ever consumed on one single day in his life. When it grew late, his servants discreetly withdrew from the scene. Bagoas closed the tent from the outside & excluded the attendants from their master's presence. They went off to their beds, for they were all exhausted from the prolonged banquet. ​ Judith was left alone in the festive tent with Holofernes, who lay prostrate on his bed sodden with wine.

Lavinia Fontana
Judith And Holofernes, c.1575-1600
Oil on canvas
175.9 x 134.1 cm.
Galleria del Palazzo Rosso, Genoa, Italy

The scene that Fontana depicts is the moment after the decapitation, just before bagging the head.    not only has Judith recently executed Holofernes (whose body recedes into the background), but she has now thrown aside the sword, is now trying to conceal the evidence and make an escape while simultaneously avoiding the Assyrian guards.     she turns toward the light – presumably from the entrance of the tent – and covers the severed head with her body.    her demeanor is seemingly calm, collected and in control but cautious. More

Lavinia Fontana (August 24, 1552 – August 11, 1614) was an Italian painter. She is regarded as the first woman artist, working within the same sphere as her male counterparts, outside a court or convent.[1] She was the first woman artist to paint female nudes, and was the main breadwinner of a family of 13.  Fontana was born in Bologna, the daughter of the painter Prospero Fontana, who was a prominent painter of the School of Bologna at the time and served as her teacher. Continuing the family business was typical at the time.

Fontana and her family moved to Rome in 1603 at the invitation of Pope Clement VIII. She gained the patronage of the Buoncompagni, of which Pope Gregory XIII was a member. Lavinia thrived in Rome as she had in Bologna and Pope Paul V himself was among her sitters. She was the recipient of numerous honors, including a bronze portrait medallion cast in 1611 by sculptor and architect Felice Antonio Casoni.

While her youthful style was much like her father's, she gradually adopted the Carracciesque style, with strong quasi-Venetian coloring. She was elected into the Accademia di San Luca of Rome, and died in that city on August 11, 1614.

There are over 100 works that are documented, but only 32 signed and dated works are known today. There are 25 more that can be attributed to her, making hers the largest oeuvre for any female artist prior to 1700. Sofonisba Anguissola may have been an influence on her career. More

Judith and Holofernes - Giorgio Vasari
Giorgio Vasari
Judith and Holofernes,: c.1554
Style: Mannerism (Late Renaissance)
Genre: religious painting
Oil on Panel
108 x 79.7 cm
Saint Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, MO, USA

Giorgio Vasari (30 July 1511 – 27 June 1574) was an Italian painter, architect, writer and historian, most famous today for his Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects, considered the ideological foundation of art-historical writing. Vasari was born in Arezzo, Tuscany. Recommended at an early age by his cousin Luca Signorelli, he became a pupil of Guglielmo da Marsiglia, a skillful painter of stained glass. Sent to Florence at the age of sixteen by Cardinal Silvio Passerini, he joined the circle of Andrea del Sarto and his pupils Rosso Fiorentino and Jacopo Pontormo where his humanist education was encouraged. He was befriended by Michelangelo whose painting style would influence his own. More

Cecco-Francesco Montelatici
Judith and Holofernes, The Sword of Judith
174x131 cm
Oil on Canvas

Cecco Bravo (15 November 1601 – 1661) was an Italian painter of the Florentine Baroque school. His true name is Francesco Montelatici. He trained with Giovanni Biliverti and was also close to Sigismondo Coccapani. In the early 1620s he worked in the studio of Matteo Rosselli.

By 1629, he had his own independent studio. His first recorded work is a fresco of the Virgin, St John & Angels (c. 1628/9; San Marco, Florence) and a painting of Charity (Annunziata of Florence). In 1633, he painted six lunettes with scenes from the Life of the Blessed Bonaventura Bonaccorsi for the church of Santissima Annunziata in Pistoia, continuing a series begun in 1601 by Bernardino Poccetti. He painted a frieze depicting children’s Games and stories from Orlando Furioso (c. 1631) for Villa Corsini a Mezzomonte in Impruneta.

In 1659, Cecco was recommended by the Cardinal Leopoldo de' Medici for a position as a court painter to Anna, wife of the archduke of Ferdinand Karl of the Tyrol. He accepted and spent the last two years of his life in Innsbruck. One of his patrons was Filippo Baldinucci, but Bravo was not included in his biographies of Florentine artists. More

foschi, pier francesco di jacopo ju | military | sotheby's n09515lot8z4xmen:
Pier Francesco di Jacopo Foschi
FLORENCE 1502 - 1567
signed or inscribed on the reverse of the panel: dj. Jacopo. Foss
oil on panel
40 3/4  by 31 3/4  in.; 103.5 by 80.8 cm.

Pier Francesco Foschi (1502–1567) was an Italian painter active in Florence in a Mannerist style. Also called Pier Francesco di Jacopo Foschi or Toschi. He was the son of Jacopo Sandro Foschi, known for his Madonna and Child with the Infant Saint John. (Utah Museum of Fine Arts). He completed 3 altarpieces, commissioned in 1540–1545 for the church of Santo Spirito in Florence: an Immaculate Conception, Resurrection, and a Transfiguration. Foschi was also influenced by Il Bronzino. 

Foschi is best noted for his portraits painted between 1530 and 1540. In his portraits he adhered to the Mannerist style, utilizing a slight Contrapposto in the sitter with their head turned from the body. This pose gave the depiction a spontaneity and sense of movement for the innovative Mannerists, but was eventually so formulaic that it lost its intention of originality. More

When all had departed & no one was left in the bedroom, Judith stood by Holofernes' bed & said within herself: “O Lord, God of all might, in this hour look graciously on my undertaking for the exaltation of Jerusalem; now is the time for aiding your heritage and for carrying out my design to shatter the enemies who have risen against us." Judith then went to the bedpost near the head of Holofernes, and taking his sword from it, drew close to the bed, grasped the hair of his head, and said, "Strengthen me this day, O God of Israel!" Then with all her might she struck him twice in the neck cutting off his head. She rolled his body off the bed and took the material of the canopy from its supports and hid general Holofernes in it.    

Judith Beheading Holofernes, 1599 by Caravaggio
Caravaggio (1571–1610)
Judith Beheading Holofernes, c. circa 1598-1599
Oil on canvas
Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica

Michelangelo Merisi (Michael Angelo Merigi or Amerighi) da Caravaggio; 29 September 1571 in Milan – 18 July 1610) was an Italian painter active in Rome, Naples, Malta, and Sicily between 1592 (1595) and 1610. His paintings, which combine a realistic observation of the human state, both physical and emotional, with a dramatic use of lighting, had a formative influence on Baroque painting.

Caravaggio trained as a painter in Milan under Simone Peterzano who had himself trained under Titian. In his twenties Caravaggio moved to Rome where there was a demand for paintings to fill the many huge new churches and palazzos being built at the time. It was also a period when the Church was searching for a stylistic alternative to Mannerism in religious art that was tasked to counter the threat of Protestantism. Caravaggio's innovation was a radical naturalism that combined close physical observation with a dramatic, even theatrical, use of chiaroscuro which came to be known as tenebrism (the shift from light to dark with little intermediate value).

He burst upon the Rome art scene in 1600 with the success of his first public commissions, the Martyrdom of Saint Matthew and Calling of Saint Matthew. Thereafter he never lacked commissions or patrons, yet he handled his success poorly. He was jailed on several occasions, vandalized his own apartment, and ultimately had a death warrant issued for him by the Pope after killing a young man, possibly unintentionally, on May 29, 1606.

Famous while he lived, Caravaggio was forgotten almost immediately after his death, and it was only in the 20th century that his importance to the development of Western art was rediscovered. Despite this, his influence on the new Baroque style that eventually emerged from the ruins of Mannerism was profound. It can be seen directly or indirectly in the work of Rubens, Jusepe de Ribera, Bernini, and Rembrandt, and artists in the following generation heavily under his influence were called the "Caravaggisti" or "Caravagesques", as well as tenebrists or tenebrosi ("shadowists"). The 20th-century art historian André Berne-Joffroy claimed: "What begins in the work of Caravaggio is, quite simply, modern painting." More

Cristofano Allori (1577–1621)
Judith with the Head of Holophernes, c. 1613
Oil on canvas
120.4 × 100.3 cm (47.4 × 39.5 in)
Royal Collection

Cristofano Allori (17 October 1577 – 1 April 1621) was an Italian portrait painter of the late Florentine Mannerist school. Allori was born at Florence and received his first lessons in painting from his father, Alessandro Allori. He then entered the studio of Gregorio Pagani, who was one of the leaders of the late Florentine school, which sought to unite the rich coloring of the Venetians with the Florentine attention to drawing. Allori also appears to have worked under Cigoli.

His pictures are distinguished by their close adherence to nature and the delicacy and technical perfection of their execution. His technical skill is shown by the fact that several copies he made of Correggio's works were thought to be duplicates by Correggio himself. His extreme fastidiousness limited the number of his works. Several examples are to be seen at Florence and elsewhere.

His most famous work, in his own day and now, is Judith with the Head of Holofernes. It exists in at least two versions by Allori, of which the prime version is perhaps that in the British Royal Collection, dated 1613 (above), with various pentimenti. A version of 1620 in the Palazzo Pitti in Florence (below) is the best known and there are several copies by studio and other hands. According to the near-contemporary biography by Filippo Baldinucci, the model for the Judith was his former mistress, the beautiful "La Mazzafirra", who is also represented in his Magdalene, the head of Holofernes is a self-portrait, and the maid is "La Mazzafirra"'s mother. More

Soon afterward, Judith came out and handed over the head of Holofernes to her maid, who put it into her food pouch; and the two went off together, as they were accustomed to do for prayer. They passed through the military camp, and skirting the ravine, reached the town of Bethulia on the mountain.. 

File:Artemisia Gentileschi - Giuditta decapita Oloferne - Google Art Project.jpg
Artemisia Gentileschi (1593–1653)
Judith and Holofernes, from 1620 until 1621
Oil on canvas
Height: 199 cm (78.3 in). Width: 162.5 cm (64 in).
Current location
Uffizi Gallery

Artemisia Gentileschi (July 8, 1593 – c. 1656) was an Italian Baroque painter, today considered one of the most accomplished painters in the generation following that of Caravaggio. In an era when women painters were not easily accepted by the artistic community or patrons, she was the first woman to become a member of the Accademia di Arte del Disegno in Florence.

She painted many pictures of strong and suffering women from myth and the Bible – victims, suicides, warriors.

Her best-known work is Judith Slaying Holofernes (above) (a well-known medieval and baroque subject in art), which "shows the decapitation of Holofernes, a scene of horrific struggle and blood-letting". That she was a woman painting in the seventeenth century and that she was raped and participated in prosecuting the rapist, long overshadowed her achievements as an artist. For many years she was regarded as a curiosity. Today she is regarded as one of the most progressive and expressionist painters of her generation. More

Judith and Abra have just killed Holofernes and are preparing to decamp with their trophy, his head. At a tense moment, they have not yet escaped; they react to a sound off-canvas, perhaps a guard stirring. Many male artists have depicted Judith as standing triumphant with Holofernes's head, but Artemisia chooses to capture the danger and risk (Below). More

Artemisia Gentileschi
Judith and Her Maidservant, c. 1612-13
Oil on Canvas
1.14m by 0.935m
Pitti Palace, Florence

File:Michelangelo, Judith and Holofernes 03.jpg
Michelangelo (1475–1564)
Judith and Holofernes (detail), c. 1509
Sistine Chapel 

Judith and her maid have put Holofernes' head on a dish and are covering it with a cloth. The dead army leader lies to the right, his arms still seemingly struggling. The arms are in harmony with the sleeves of his armor. 

This fresco is found in a corner of the Sistine Chapel, at the side of the entrance. More

Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni (6 March 1475 – 18 February 1564), was an Italian sculptor, painter, architect, poet, and engineer of the High Renaissance who exerted an unparalleled influence on the development of Western art. Considered as the greatest living artist in his lifetime, he has since been held as one of the greatest artists of all time. Despite making few forays beyond the arts, his versatility in the disciplines he took up was of such a high order that he is often considered a contender for the title of the archetypal Renaissance man, along with his fellow Italian Leonardo da Vinci. More

As they approached its gates of Bethulia, Judith shouted to the guards from a distance, "Open! Open the gate! God, our God, is with us. Once more he has made manifest his strength in Israel and his power against our enemies; he has done it this very day." When the citizens heard her voice, they quickly descended to their city gate & summoned the city elders. All the people, from the least to the greatest, hurriedly assembled, for her return seemed unbelievable. 

The return of Judith to Bethulia - Sandro Botticelli
Sandro Botticelli
The return of Judith to Bethulia, c. 1472
31 x 24 cm
Uffizi Gallery, Florence

The picture was probably created in pendant with The Discovery of the Murder of Holofernes (below); both of them are documented at the end of 16th century in Medicean collections.  In The Return of Judith to Bethulia, Botticelli shows us Judith together with Abra, her maid, the two of them striding out in a well-nigh furious manner. Abra is carrying Holofernes' severed head on her own head, while Judith has an olive branch in her hand as a symbol of peace, which she is bringing to the Hebrews. Botticelli has succeeded here in capturing both movement and stillness in a unique balance. Judith is pausing a moment in her striding forward to turn towards the observer, self-assured if not without a touch of melancholy, exactly as if she wished to present herself as the victor. More

Alessandro di Mariano di Vanni Filipepi, known as Sandro Botticelli (1445 – May 17, 1510), was an Italian painter of the Early Renaissance. He belonged to the Florentine School under the patronage of Lorenzo de' Medici, a movement that Giorgio Vasari would characterize less than a hundred years later in his Vita of Botticelli as a "golden age". Botticelli's posthumous reputation suffered until the late 19th century; since then, his work has been seen to represent the linear grace of Early Renaissance painting. More

Judith returns

Judith with the Head of Holofernes - Francesco Solimena
Francesco Solimena
Judith with the Head of Holofernes, c. 1728
Oil on canvas
105 x 130 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, Austria

This painting illustrates the moment when Judith displays the trophy of her victory to the citizens she has rescued. In a Christian context, the story of the Jewish heroine represents the triumph of virtue over evil. During the Counter-Reformation, the subject also became a powerful symbol of the Catholic Church’s triumph over heresy, or dissent from its teachings. Here, Solimena shows Judith as confident that she has served the will of God. The dramatic lighting, gestures and facial expressions of the figures are intended to appeal to the emotions and inspire the faith that motivated Judith. More

Francesco Solimena (October 4, 1657 – April 3, 1747) was a prolific Italian painter of the Baroque era, one of an established family of painters and draughtsmen. He received early training from his father, Angelo Solimena, with whom he executed a Paradise for the cathedral of Nocera (a place where he spent a big part of his life) and a Vision of St. Cyril of Alexandria for the church of San Domenico at Solofra.

He settled in Naples in 1674, there he worked in the studio of Francesco di Maria and later Giacomo del Po. He apparently had taken the clerical orders, but was patronized early on, and encouraged to become an artist by Cardinal Vincenzo Orsini (later Pope Benedict XIII). By the 1680s, he had independent fresco commissions, and his active studio came to dominate Neapolitan painting from the 1690s through the first four decades of the 18th century. He modeled his art after the Roman Baroque masters, whose technique of warm brownish shadowing Solimena emulated. Solimena painted many frescoes in Naples, altarpieces, celebrations of weddings and courtly occasions, mythological subjects, characteristically chosen for their theatrical drama, and portraits. His settings are suggested with a few detailssuch as steps, archways, balustrades, columns, concentrating attention on figures and their draperies, caught in pools and shafts of light. Art historians take pleasure in identifying the models he imitated or adapted in his compositions. His numerous preparatory drawings often mix media, combining pen-and-ink, chalk and watercolor washes. More

They opened the gate to welcome the two women. ​They made a fire for light; and when they gathered around the two, Judith urged them with a loud voice: "Praise God, praise him! Praise God, who has not withdrawn his mercy from the house of Israel, but has shattered our enemies by my hand this very night." Then she took the head out of the pouch, showed it to them, & said: "Here is the head of Holofernes, general in charge of the Assyrian army, and here is the canopy under which he lay in his drunkenness. The Lord struck him down by the hand of a woman. As the Lord lives, who has protected me in the path I have followed, I swear that it was my face that seduced Holofernes to his ruin, and that he did not sin with me to my defilement or disgrace."

Leon Francois Comerre (1850-1916)
Oil On Canvas
95.3 x 50.8 cm ( 37,5 x 20 inch ) 

Léon François Comerre (10 October 1850 – 20 February 1916) was a French academic painter, famous for his portraits of beautiful women. He was born in Trélon, in the Département du Nord, the son of a schoolteacher. He moved to Lille with his family in 1853. From an early age he showed an interest in art and became a student of Alphonse Colas at the École des Beaux-Arts in Lille, winning a gold medal in 1867. From 1868 a grant from the Département du Nord allowed him to continue his studies in Paris at the famous École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts in the studio of Alexandre Cabanel. There he came under the influence of orientalism.

Comerre first exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1871 and went on to win prizes there in 1875 and 1881. In 1875 he won the Grand Prix de Rome for his painting "L’Ange annonçant aux bergers la naissance du Christ" (The Angel announcing the birth of Christ to the shepherds). This led to a scholarship at the French Academy in Rome from January 1876 to December 1879. In 1885 he won a prize at the "Exposition Universelle" in Antwerp. He also won prestigious art prizes in the USA (1876) and Australia (1881 and 1897). He became a Knight of the Legion of Honour in 1903. More

Achior the Ammonite confirms the identity of the head and is so impressed by God's miraculous work through Judith that he accepts circumcision and becomes a Jew. The Assyrians, meanwhile, have discovered Judith's treachery and are thrown into disarray. Following Judith's advice, the men of Bethulia attack, mustering their fellow Israelites to drive the enemy back even beyond Damascus. 

Paolo Stefano Badaloni Schiavo
The Return Of Judith To Bethulia, And The Route Of The Jews Defeating The Assyrians
: A Cassone Panel
Tempera  and  gilt  on  panel
46.4 x 159.5 cm

This cassone depicts the rarely illustrated story of Judith as she comes to the gates of Bethulia.  The episode is told in the apocryphal book of Judith, and occurs after the heroine has beheaded the enemy general Holofernes (13.10-11):  “... they compassed the valley, and went up the mountain of Bethulia, and came to the gates thereof.

Then said Judith afar off, to the watchmen at the gate, ‘Open, open now the gate: God, even our God, is with us, to shew his power yet in Jerusalem, and his forces against the enemy, as he hath even done this day.’”

The soldiers of the garrison are astonished as they open the gates to the city (which the artist has kindly labeled “Betulia”; and the final route of the Assyrian army is shown to the right. More

Paolo Schiavo, the pseudonym of Paolo di Stefano Badaloni (1397-1478) was a Florentine painter. Born in Rome, he enrolled in the Arte dei Medici e Speziali (the guild of Doctors and Apothecaries) in 1428. According to Vasari, he was a follower of Masolino. Schiavo dedicated a lot of his later works to Masolino. Among his dedications were a frescoes of the Virgin and Child Enthroned with Saints (1436), of the Crucifixion Adored by Nuns(1447-8) and of the Adoration of the Magi, the Annunciation and various saints. He made several other dedicatory works, all of which bear his signature and their corresponding dates. He died in Pisa. More

Judith receives high honors and adulation; even Jerusalem's high priest Joakim comes to pay his respects. Judith then retires to her home and lives the rest of her life as a widow, despite many offers of marriage. She dies at the age of 105.

Judith I, 1901 by Gustav Klimt:
Gustav Klimt
Judith I, c. 1901

Judith's face exudes a mixed charge of voluptuousness and perversion. Its traits are transfigured so as to obtain the greatest degree of intensity and seduction, which Klimt achieves by placing the woman on an unattainable plane. Notwithstanding the alteration of features, one can recognise Klimt's friend and maybe lover, Viennese socialite, Adele Bloch-Bauer, the subject of another two portraits respectively done in 1907 and 1912, and also painted in the Pallas Athena. 

The slightly lifted head has a sense of pride, whereas her visage is languid and sensual, with parted lips in between defiance and seduction. Franz A. J. Szabo describes it best as a, “The triumph of the erotic feminine principle over the aggressive masculine one.”  Although Judith had typically been interpreted as the pious widow simply fulfilling a higher duty, in Judith I (above)she is a paradigm of the femme fatale. The fashionable hairdo is emphasized by the stylised motifs of the trees fanning on the sides. Her disheveled dark green, semi-sheer garment, giving the viewer a view of nearly bare torso, alludes to the fact that Judith beguiled the general Holofernes before decapitating him.

In the 1901 version, Judith maintains a magnetic fascination and sensuality, subsequently abandoned by Klimt in his Judith II  (Below), where she acquires sharper traits and a fierce expression. In its formal qualities, the first version illustrates a heroine with the archetypal features of the bewitching and charming ladies described by symbolist artists. She revels in her power and sexuality. More

Gustav Klimt (July 14, 1862 – February 6, 1918) was an Austrian symbolist painter and one of the most prominent members of the Vienna Secession movement. Klimt is noted for his paintings, murals, sketches, and other objets d'art. Klimt's primary subject was the female body, and his works are marked by a frank eroticism. In addition to his figurative works, which include allegories and portraits, he painted landscapes. Among the artists of the Vienna Secession, Klimt was the most influenced by Japanese art and its methods. More

Klimt Gustav
Judith Judith II (Salome '), c. 1909 first quarter
Oil on canvas
'Pesaro International Gallery of Modern Art

For this version of Judith Klimt used a different style than in his 1901 Judith. This work tends to cubism, with all the colorful layers. But natural perspective is still present, contrary to cubist works.

Judith's glare is colder than in the 1901 version. But her overall posture still shows the satisfaction Klimt thinks she got from decapitating Holofernes. More

File:Kmska Jan Matsijs (1509-1573) - Judith 28-02-2010 14-00-22.jpg
Jan Matsijs (1509–1575)
Judith with the Head of Holofernes, c. before 1575
Oil on panel
Dimensions 115 x 80,5 cm
Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp

Jan Massijs (c.1510, Antwerp – 8 October 1575, Antwerp) was a Flemish Renaissance painter known for his history paintings, genre scenes and landscapes.  He trained under his father. He was admitted, together with his brother Cornelis, as a master in the Antwerp Guild of St. Luke in 1531, a year after their father's death. It is assumed that he left Antwerp immediately thereafter and worked for a while in Fontainebleau, but these facts are not firmly established. He was back in Antwerp by 1536. He married his cousin Anna van Tuylt in 1538. The couple would have three children.

In 1544 Jan and his brother Cornelis were banned from Antwerp because of their religious beliefs. It is possible that Jan went to Fontainebleau and Germany. It is certain that he spent time in Genoa. He returned to Antwerp before the end of 1555 when the ban imposed on him was ended. He was then involved in a number of court cases with his brothers and sisters over the distribution of inheritances.

He had been sufficiently rehabilitated for the local city council to commission several works from him. These works were destroyed in 1576 when Spanish troops set the city hall on fire during the Spanish Fury and the Sack of Antwerp. Jan Massijs had died the year before having been reduced to a state bordering on poverty. More

Sandro Botticelli
Judith with the Head of Holofernes, c. 1497 - ca. 1500
Tempera and gilding on canvas
H 36.5 cm × W 20 cm
Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam

Judith with the Head of Holofernes. Judith leaving the tent opening with the sword in the right hand and the severed head in his left hand. Right a shadow of the servant.

Cesare Mariani (1826-1901)
Judith showing the head of Holofernes to the Jewish people, c. 1876
Church of San Salvatore in Onda, Rome, Lazio, Italy.

Cesare Mariani (January 13, 1826 in Rome – 1901) was an Italian painter and architect of the late-19th century, active in Rome and Ascoli Piceno. Born to Pietro and Maria Agnelletti; his father worked for the Giustiniani family. This helped him access in 1837 to studies at the Accademia San Luca of Rome. His first masters were a painter by the name of Delicati and G. Silvagni, who taught design at the academy. He entered the studio of Tommaso Minardi from 1842 to 1850. There he worked alongside Guglielmo De Sanctis, Cesare Fracassini, Nicola Consoni, and Cesare Marianecci. One of his works were displayed at the Universal Exposition in London of 1851. His work was influenced by works of the Ingres and the Nazarene movement, but also by Francesco Hayez's interest in genre depiction, and which differed from the more academic style of Vincenzo Cammuccini. More

Image: Abraham Bloemaert - Judith shows the people the head of the Holofernes.
Abraham Bloemaert (1564 - 1651)
Judith shows the people the head of the Holofernes. c. (1593)
Oil on Canvas
44 x 34 cm (17,3 x 13,4 inches)
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Wien

Abraham Bloemaert (1566 - 27 January 1651) was a Dutch painter and printmaker in etching and engraving. He was one of the "Haarlem Mannerists" from about 1585, but in the new century altered his style to fit new Baroque trends. He mostly painted history subjects and some landscapes. He was an important teacher, who trained most of the Utrecht Caravaggisti, at least for a period. More

Datei:August von Heckel Judith zeigt den Bethuliern das Haupt des Holofernes.jpg
August von Heckel
Judith shows her people the head of the Holofernes, c. 1857
36.5 x 46.5 cm
Oil on canvas

Luca Giordano
Judith Displaying the Head of Holofernes, c.  1703-1704
Oil on canvas
102.9 x 77.5 cm
St Louis Art Museum, St Louis, Missouri, USA

File:French - The Women of Bethulia Celebrating the Triumph of Judith over Holophernes - Walters 37574.jpg
The Women of Bethulia Celebrating the Triumph of Judith over Holophernes
c. 1575 and 1642 (Renaissance)
Oil on canvas
95.5 cm (37.6 in). Width: 117.4 cm (46.2 in).
Walters Art Museum

Sandro Botticelli
The Discovery of Holofernes' Corpse Judith Returns from the Enemy Camp at BethuliaThe Discovery of Holofernes’ Corpse, c.1470-72
Tempera on Panel
12.2 x 9.4″
Uffizzi Gallery

Luca Giordano
The Discovery of the Body of Holofernes
Oil Painting on Canvas
Saint Louis Museum of Art

Luca Giordano (18 October 1634 – 12 January 1705) was an Italian late Baroque painter and printmaker in etching. Fluent and decorative, he worked successfully in Naples and Rome, Florence and Venice, before spending a decade in Spain. Born in Naples, Giordano was the son of the painter Antonio Giordano. In around 1650 he was apprenticed to Ribera on the recommendation of the viceroy of Naples and his early work was heavily influenced by his teacher. Like Ribera, he painted many half-length figures of philosophers, either imaginary portraits of specific figures, or generic types.

Following a period studying in Rome, Parma and Venice, Giordano developed an elaborate Baroque style fusing Venetian and Roman Influences. His mature work combines the ornamental pomp of Paul Veronese with the lively complex schemes, the "grand manner", of Pietro da Cortona. He is also noted for his lively and showy use of colour. More

Conrat Meit
Judith with the head of Holofernes, circa 1525
Bayerisches Nationalmuseum Munich

Conrad Meit (1480s in Worms; 1550/1551 in Antwerp) was a German-born Late Gothic and Renaissance sculptor, who spent most of his career in the Low Countries. The royal tombs that were his largest works still had elaborate Late Gothic architectural frameworks by others, but Meit's figures were Renaissance in conception and style. Meit's work, with its delicately worked plasticity and pronounced corporality, brought an entirely new form of expression to Late Gothic church sculpture. The anatomy of his nude figures draws more from Albrecht Dürer than from classical sculpture.

Later many of his works in Brussels, Antwerp, Tongerlo Abbey, and elsewhere were destroyed in the Reformation and French Revolution, leaving the three royal monuments at the then newly built Royal Monastery of Brou, Bourg-en-Bresse, as his outstanding surviving large works. A number of small works, including portrait busts in wood, and small statuettes in various materials have survived. The documented tombs and the signed alabaster statuette of Judith (illustrated above) are the main secure works for defining his style. More

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