Judith with the head of holofernes


The idea for this statue came from a desire to offer a modern take on the theme of courage that can be displayed in exceptional circumstances. Judith’s femininity is presented as a vital paradoxical element of her act of brutal heroism that would better befit a man. Modern attributes such as high soldier boots with ties, jeans and a belt with a solid clasp, a short sleeveless jacket mannishly dressed over a naked torso and left wide open, as well as the head shaven in a military style incite the viewer to ponder feminist aspects of social reality. The experience of combining delicate femininity with brutal harshness appears as a defence of the new understanding of beauty seeking the power of truth. The figure stands with most of her weight on one foot, accentuating the oppositely directed axes. The coarseness of rhythms is enhanced with sharp twists and bends of the forms and the elaborate design of individual elements. The sword, Judith’s traditional attribute, is transformed into a solid curved backsword similar to a yataghan (or Turkish sword). Allusions to Oriental weapons are intended to provoke subliminal associations with stereotypical Asian sly cruelty. A forward stoop of the head hides the look in Judith’s eyes and deprives it of emotional certainty. The combination of all these nuances conjures up for the viewer the archetype of the hidden danger of femininity. The complexity of the image is generated by a combination of classic, timeless cultural codes and narratives related to modernity. Thus, musings about the eternal dialectics of the male and the female, life and death, the victim and the hero, become relevant to issues of the day while remaining essentially unsolvable.

 

Brief annotations to the image

JUDITH (see preceding annotation) is an Old Testament character, a woman who saved her hometown from invaders. In the Renaissance era, the story of a widow became the example of courage in the face of intervention for  the Italians. Botticelli, Giorgione, Mantegna, Tiziano, Veronese, and then - Caravaggio, Beccafumi, Rembrandt, Rubens, August Riedel, Parmigianino, Jacques Callot  were  interested in this theme.