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Judith by Kanchan Mahon

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Paper Collage
Klimt’s Judith

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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.


collage, altered art

I am a physician and have a passion for healing. I started making collages after working on altered books. My husband asked me to make something larger so that we could hang it in our home. My daughters then encouraged me to upload my creations.
The encouragement that I receive online keeps me creating. Knowing my art is being enjoyed keeps me making more. I love that. You are helping the machine of my creation right now. ~Kanchan

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  • Karen Gingell
    Karen Gingellover 2 years ago

    You have done Klimt proud – am knocked out by your work -

  • Wow, I’m blown over by your words! I am thrilled, not to mention honored, that you think so.

    – Kanchan Mahon

  • Alison Bur
    Alison Burover 2 years ago

    Amazing! :) Very reminiscent of Klimt!

  • Thank you, I really appreciate it. This features Klimt’s portrait of Judith, but I left out the severed head!

    – Kanchan Mahon

  • Alison Bur
    Alison Burover 2 years ago

    hahaha! I like the head on better! :)

  • jonolaf
    jonolafover 2 years ago

    love Klimt …………

  • Thanks!

    – Kanchan Mahon

  • RobynLee
    RobynLeeover 2 years ago

  • Thank you very much for this feature!

    – Kanchan Mahon

  • © Kira Bodensted
    © Kira Bodenstedover 2 years ago


    Click the banner for your permanent Feature page

  • Thank you Kira, this is a special honor!

    – Kanchan Mahon

  • Seth  Weaver
    Seth Weaverover 2 years ago

    Simply stunning, Kanchan. CONGRATULATIONS on the features!

  • Thanks Seth!

    – Kanchan Mahon

  • RobynLee
    RobynLeeover 2 years ago

  • Thank you so very much for featuring my work.

    – Kanchan Mahon

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