Giorgione. Judith. Art print on canvas
The story of Judith is told in the Book of Judith. Holofernes, the leader in war of the Assyrian emperor Nebuchadnezzar, seiged the town Bethulia. A young widow Judith went to the enemy camp to save her native town. When Judith faced Holofernes, he was stricken by her beauty and asked her to join in their feast. After the feast, when Judith and Holofernes stayed alone and the leader fell asleep, she cut his head, cheated the guards and left the camp with Holofernes’s head. The death of their leader embarrassed the Assyrians and they were beaten (Book of Judith; 1-14).
“Judith” is one of the most picturesque works by Giorgionne, the Venetian artist of the Renaissance epoch. The artist depicted a beautiful woman who is ready to sacrifice herself saving her nation.
The image of Judith created by the artist is very difficult. She is majestic and modest at the same time. We can feel both her pride of a victress and the sorrow for her deed. Giorgionne represented Judith treading on Holofernes’s head with her foot. All her pose is highly feminine, but at the same time she is firm holding a great sword in her hand. The situation becomes even more complicated by the fact that Giorgionne, in spite of the fixed tradition of painting, did not depict Holofernes’s head loathsome and monstrous as it was frequently done. The face of the defeated leader distorted by death has regular features; it is even beautiful and by no means abominable as it ought to be. Such a complex mixture of feelings and characteristics is inherent in Giorgionne who moves away from the clear harmony in the images of the heroes which is usual for his contemporaries.
The background for Judith is a complex landscape with the far horizon. To the right of her figure two trees are represented – a strong oak and a thin tree trembling in the wind. Probably, it is the allegoric comparison of Judith’s female weakness with the physical strength of her foe.
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Agni Publishing House (Samara, Russia), Nicholas Roerich Museum (New York) and Fine Arts Academy Gallery (Moscow, Russia) have published a unique album, dedicated to the pictorial heritage of Nicholas Roerich (1874-1947).
Will be available on the second volume of a unique publication dedicated to the works of Nicholas Roerich (1874-1947).
The album was released by the publishing house "Agni" (Samara), with active cooperation of the Nicholas Roerich Museum in New York, as well as the Moscow Gallery Fine Arts Academy and the St. Petersburg State Museum and Institute of the Roerich Family.