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JUDITH BEHEADING HOLOFERNES
CARAVAGGIO
1598-1599
OIL ON CANVAS
145 CM X 195 CM
GALLERIA NAZIONALE D'ARTE ANTICA AT PALAZZO...
PRESENTATION STRUCTURE
INTRODUCTION TO CARAVAGGIO
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF CARAVAGGIO
JUDITH AND HOLOFERNES
THE CONTEXTUAL SIGN...
CARAVAGGIO:
TIMELINE
• 1573 – Michelangelo Merisi is born in Caravaggio.
• 1584 – Began apprenticeship in Milan for four
y...
CARAVAGGIO
• First modern painter.
• Sacrificed beauty for the sake of the truth.
• Caravaggio described an artist as ‘a g...
CARAVAGGIO
• Regarded as a prophet of realism and a
creator of an aesthetic revolution.
• To his contemporaries - a phenom...
JUDITH AND
HOLOFERNES
• The name Judith in Hebrew means
'praised' and 'jewess'.
• Judith is a person from the bible her
ow...
JUDITH AND
HOLOFERNES
• Within the book Holofernes is a
general of a great army sent by the
King of Nineveh to subdue the ...
HOLOFERNES
HIS SCREAMS ARE ALMOST AUDIBLE, HIS
TWISTED SPASMS ARE ALMOST VISIBLE.
CARAVAGGIO CAPTURES TO MOMENT OF
DEATH W...
ASYMMETRICAL COMPOSITION
A COMMON FEATURE OF BAROQUE PAINTINGS IS THE ‘ZIGZAG
COMPOSITION’ THAT CROSSES AT DIAGONALS TO CR...
CHIAROSCURO
A PROMINENT FEATURE OF CARAVAGGIO'S WORKS.
THE USE IN THIS PAINTING CAPTURES THE VEXED EXPRESSION UPON
JUDITH'...
SUMMARY
• Caravaggio’s significance lies in his refusal to keep to the
expectations of the Renaissance.
• The painting is ...
BIBLIOGRAPHY
Kitson, Michael. Caravaggio.Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1985.
Kitson, Micheal. The complete Paintings of Ca...
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Carravaggio, Judith beheading Holofernes (1598-1599)

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Group presentation by first year students Amelia Liu, Elizabeth Moran and Samuel Jenkins from History at the University of Lincoln as part of the Early Modern Visual Culture module, led by Dr Anna Marie Roos.

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Carravaggio, Judith beheading Holofernes (1598-1599)

  1. 1. JUDITH BEHEADING HOLOFERNES CARAVAGGIO 1598-1599 OIL ON CANVAS 145 CM X 195 CM GALLERIA NAZIONALE D'ARTE ANTICA AT PALAZZO BARBERINI, ROME JUDITH BEHEADING HOLOFERNES
  2. 2. PRESENTATION STRUCTURE INTRODUCTION TO CARAVAGGIO THE SIGNIFICANCE OF CARAVAGGIO JUDITH AND HOLOFERNES THE CONTEXTUAL SIGNIFICANCE THE PAINTING SUMMARY OF SIGNIFICANCE BIBLIOGRAPHY
  3. 3. CARAVAGGIO: TIMELINE • 1573 – Michelangelo Merisi is born in Caravaggio. • 1584 – Began apprenticeship in Milan for four years with Simone Peterzano. • 1592-93 – Arrives in Rome • 1593-96 – Moves about to different workshops to assist painters. He tries to find his feet as an independent artists. • 1599 – Awarded contract for ‘The Calling and Martyrdom of St Matthew’ on the side walls of Contarelli Chapel in San Luigi des Francesi. • 1600-1609 – Violent period resulting his several arrests. • 1610 – Dies on the journey from Naples to Rome.
  4. 4. CARAVAGGIO • First modern painter. • Sacrificed beauty for the sake of the truth. • Caravaggio described an artist as ‘a good artist is one who knows how to paint well and how to imitate natural objects well.’ • Aims: to provide uncompromising realism, use textures such as surface details and psychological reactions that were depicted with rigorous clarity not seen in painting before. • The role of imagination in his art was left unexplained. • His art described as realistic with nature being an inspiration to him. • 18th and 19th century: very little interest in him but in the modern day his reputation has risen higher than before.
  5. 5. CARAVAGGIO • Regarded as a prophet of realism and a creator of an aesthetic revolution. • To his contemporaries - a phenomenon, often feared but admired by others who didn’t understand him. • Next generation - a gifted painter but a dangerous influence that undermined established laws of art. • Strange and fierce originality. • ‘Judith beheading Holofernes’ is part of the transitory state from early to his mature style. His new interests included integrating action, expression of emotion and modelling of forms in relief and an adoption of dark shadows surrounding and cutting into forms illuminated by beams of light.
  6. 6. JUDITH AND HOLOFERNES • The name Judith in Hebrew means 'praised' and 'jewess'. • Judith is a person from the bible her own chapter is aptly named 'The Book of Judith'. • The sacred writer of this Book is generally believed to be the high priest Eliachim (called also Joachim). • A whole book in the Bible is devoted to Judith, because as a woman she embodies the power of the people of Israel to defeat the enemy.
  7. 7. JUDITH AND HOLOFERNES • Within the book Holofernes is a general of a great army sent by the King of Nineveh to subdue the Jews. • In relation to the painting’s story you can see the widow Judith first charms the Assyrian general Holofernes, and then decapitates him in his tent. • She returns to her people victorious, holding up the severed head as a trophy. The Jews regain their courage, raid the Assyrian camp and drive the enemy away.
  8. 8. HOLOFERNES HIS SCREAMS ARE ALMOST AUDIBLE, HIS TWISTED SPASMS ARE ALMOST VISIBLE. CARAVAGGIO CAPTURES TO MOMENT OF DEATH WITH SUCH EXCELLENCE. JUDITH HER ANGUISH IS SO CLEAR IN HER EXPRESSION. THE ACT OF BEHEADING IS SO GRUESOME AND YET SHE IS SO VIRTUOUS. THE INTERNAL CONFLICT OF JUDITH IS FELT. THE MAID HER MENACING EXPRESSION CONTRASTS WITH THAT OF JUDITH. HER ELDERLY FEATURES ARE COMPLIMENTARY TO JUDITH'S BEAUTY FURTHER SHOWING HER (JUDITH'S) VIRTUE THE PAINTING IN THE MOST TYPICAL FASHION AS SEEN IN HIS OTHER WORKS, CARAVAGGIO CHOOSES THE MOST DRAMATIC, GRUESOME, SHOCKING POINT OF THE STORY - JUDITH IN THE MIDST OF BEHEADING GENERAL HOLOFERNES. CARAVAGGIO CREATES ELEMENTS OF REALISM USING A COMBINATION OF TECHNIQUE AND MATERIAL.
  9. 9. ASYMMETRICAL COMPOSITION A COMMON FEATURE OF BAROQUE PAINTINGS IS THE ‘ZIGZAG COMPOSITION’ THAT CROSSES AT DIAGONALS TO CREATE THE FEELING OF CAPTURED MOTION, EMOTION AND DRAMA. COEXTENSIVE SPACE CARAVAGGIO POSSESSED THIS SKILL OF ABSORBING THE AUDIENCE INTO HIS PAINTINGS. THE SCENE EXTENDS AND ALMOST INVITES THE VIEWER INTO THE ROOM OF THE PAINTING TO BE PART OF IT.
  10. 10. CHIAROSCURO A PROMINENT FEATURE OF CARAVAGGIO'S WORKS. THE USE IN THIS PAINTING CAPTURES THE VEXED EXPRESSION UPON JUDITH'S FACE AS WELL AS THE STARK CONTRAST WITH HER ELDERLY MAID AND HOLOFERNES' SCREAMS. “HE WHO HAD PUT THE OSCURO IN CHIAROSCURO WAS HIMSELF WREATHED IN OBSCURITY.” - GILLES LAMBERT. P11 COLOUR RED AND WHITE ARE THE FOCUS HERE. THE RED DRAPES EMPHASISE THE BLOODSHED AND TRIUMPH WHILE THE WHITE REPRESENTS THE VIRTUE OF JUDITH. THEY STAND OUT IN THE DARK SETTING. OIL ALLOWS FOR LAYERING OF PAINT. THIS AIDS CARAVAGGIO TO SHOW THE OVERWHELMING EMOTIONS AND EXPRESSIONS IN HIS PAINTINGS. IT ALSO ALLOWS FOR THE BEAUTIFUL CHIAROSCURO WHICH HE IS SO FAMOUS FOR.
  11. 11. SUMMARY • Caravaggio’s significance lies in his refusal to keep to the expectations of the Renaissance. • The painting is significant because it was quite a popular scene to paint, only Caravaggio did it in the most dramatic manner with such realism. • The pushing out of the Renaissance into the Baroque Era by Caravaggio makes him one of the most important painters of his time.
  12. 12. BIBLIOGRAPHY Kitson, Michael. Caravaggio.Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1985. Kitson, Micheal. The complete Paintings of Caravaggio. Middlesex: Penguin Books, 1985. Lambert, Gilles, Caravaggio ret, G. 2000. Caravaggio, 1571-1610. Köln: Taschen. Vsevolozhskaya, S. and I. Linnik. Caravaggui and His Followers. Leningrad: Aurora Art Publishers, 1975. Langdon, Helen. Caravaggio: A Life. London: Chatto & Windus, 1998. Marx, Daniel. ‘Judith Beheading Holofernes’. Caravaggio biography, Web gallery of art, accessed 15th March 2014; http://www.wga.hu/frames- e.html?/html/c/caravagg/03/17judit.html.

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