Judith

Kanchan Mahon

Joined October 2011

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Paper Collage
Klimt’s Judith

Buy the original http://www.KanchanMahon.com/

I used Gustav Klimt’s Judith I for this collage.

In the biblical Book of Judith the woman Judith personifies the virtues of Humility, Justice, Strength and Chastity. However the heroine’s virtues have been subverted by modern male artists who often cast in a very different light. by portraying her nude, a seductress. SEE Below for the biblical reference.

Klimt was patently painting the *"murderous orgasm" of the femme fatale, 
rather than the portrait of the virtuous Jewish widow. Klimt’s Judith is both erotic and frightening, emphasizing the erotic tension of the moment of death. His Judith seems to be in ecstasy: eyes half closed, open mouth, her dress in disarray. She is a femme fatale: a dominant woman who uses her beauty against man. She illustrates the "crisis of the male ego,’ as shown in Freud’s concept of Death and Sexuality, or Eros and Thanatos i.e.. the idea that men fear women and have violent fantasies of an eroticized death.

In Vienna at that time, Jewish women were considered exotic, forbidden and therefore desirable. Klimt portrays her as a Viennese femme fatale in contrast to her image as the virtuous heroine of the Jews in the Biblical story.
 

In the Bible
Judith goes to the camp of the enemy general Holofernes. She slowly ingratiates herself, promising him information on the Israelites. Gaining his trust, she is allowed access to his tent. One night when he is drunk she decapitates him, then takes his head back to her fearful countrymen. The Assyrians, having lost their leader, disperse, and Israel is saved.

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