Some excellent follower-contributed research and commentary on these paintings! Fantastic.
I like the idea of every lady in court having their own “Portrait of the Mistress of the Household as Judith with the Head of Holofernes” hanging in the salon. You can imagine them saying to their friends “But darling, you simply must have yourself done as Judith! It’s the going thing! See how big you can get him to make your hat.”
Lucas Cranach the Elder must’ve done pretty well selling Judith and Holofernes paintings! Or else he was kiiiiiiiind of creepy.
Judith/Holofernes and Salome/John paintings often get mixed up with each other (because: smug lady hanging out with a severed head), but whenever the lady is holding a sword, I feels it’s safe to assume Judith. Because, c’mon, Salome wouldn’t mess up her manicure.
He was a court painter, and these are all different ladies of the court as Judith
Salome is usually a much younger women, in simpler (or skankier) clothes and her beheaded head is on a silver platter. Princesses rarely stooped to decapitation, and instead she shook her booty and begged step-daddy to bring her the head. No Muss, No Fuss.
Judith is the bad assiest woman in the bible, imo, but I much prefer the decapitation scenes that were popular in the 18th century. Artemisia Gentileschi Style
This is fascinating. I wonder why so many court women were choosing to be portrayed as Judith at the time?
I read some more and he was painting in the dutch court during the reformation. The story of Judith is of a woman whose country was under siege and whose men folk were not fighting acceptably, so she took it upon herself to seduce and destroy the encroaching threat.
Me thinks that Catholics are the encroaching threat, and that’s a metaphorical pope head. But you know, in that classy rennisance way. And you know how those ladies at court are, once one gets a portrait of them selves as a bilblical avenging Jewess they all need one….