Wednesday, October 13, 2010
age old art history topic of discussion; judith and holofernes
Art history class, question of the day - Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists? (article by Linda Nochlin, 1971).
Why, social conventions, to put it simply (she takes about thirty pages to explain this, of course).
But this leads to the curious case of Artemisia Gentileschi, the female painter and her life story, her rape and trial, her paintings...
And why she is/was underrated/forgotten. Certainly not technical skill, I'm sure. Perhaps her work doesn't have the same effect as Caravaggio's (and Caravaggio was sadly misunderstood in his time), but it is certainly striking. Like the expression on Judith's face, and the action involved in the painting. Pent-up rage. And a hand pushing down on his head. Rather than squeamish disgust. And a creepy old lady in the background.
But I'm probably overspeculating.
On another vaguely related topic, I came across two more depictions of Judith and Holofernes - by Gustav Klimt. A fascinating artist and interesting interpretation.