"Judith Slaying Holofernes" - Artemisia Gentileschi
I have been waiting to write about this painting. Clearly Baroque has and will forever be my favorite movement. Dat Side-lighting. But to be earnest, I cried at this painting. It finally is in town for the first time in its existence. The artist herself was raped and this is by far the most vengeful and female dominant version of this tale. Most paintings, in contrast - Caravaggio for example - the women shy away from the blood, which tends to be more minimum. They aren’t exerting force. Here, we see the two women immersed in the act, almost to the point of bloodlust. She grips at Holofernes’ hair with total force and control. It is easy to project the personal experience of Artemisia’s young rape onto this painting as the artist reaping revenge in the best way. These theories are just starting to form, however. As an understudy of Caravaggio, Artemisia has been dismissed until the 1970s by the male-centric academia as just a ‘copy’ of her mentors. I am so happy to finally see her growing recognition and appreciation. Female Renaissance artists are few and far between so this one deserves her new found, traveling fame.
Cannot wait to go see this in person tonight. I’ve waited my whole adult and teen life for this moment.
I cried when I saw this painting in person in Italy. Like tears streaming down my face weeping openly over the sheer size and magnitude of this painting. You’ll do the same.