Monday, September 5, 2011

Lurid Bible Character

Judith of Bethulia is a Biblical heroine who proves (as if proof were necessary) that Jewish women can be bad-ass if the need arises. There's a whole short book in the Bible devoted to her story, the "Book of Judith" (the Jewish and Protestant Bibles leave this book out). The lurid tale takes place during a war between the Jews and the Assyrians. The main character Judith, a beautiful young widow, does her part to win the war by seducing the enemy leader, Holofernes, and then beheading him while he is lying in a drunken stupor on her bed. Many artists over the years have portrayed this scene, which gives them a chance to combine sex and gore and still remain properly religious.

I did this small rendition of Judith using a model photograph from a girly mag. The costume and weaponry is Hollywood, not historical. I jazzed it up further by putting a shiny gold mat border on the piece. I then sent it to "Iguanacon," the World Science Fiction Convention, which was held in Phoenix, Arizona in 1978. Though I was not there to promote it, I heard that the picture caused quite a stir. And the bloody sword inspired another explanation for the picture, which I hadn't intended. Some of the fans called it "Get it up or I'll cut it off."

"Judith of Bethulia" is watercolor on Arches paper, 4" x 8", July 1978.


Tristan Alexander said...

WOW, a naked woman with attitude! Nice!

Amanda said...

I like the oblique lighting--very nice treatment.