Little is known of his early life. The few surviving records indicate that he was born c. 1380–90, most likely in Maaseik. He took employment as painter and Valet de chambre with John of Bavaria-Straubing, ruler of Holland, in the Hague around 1422, when he was already a master painter with workshop assistants. After John’s death in 1425 he was employed as court painter to Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, in Lille, where he remained until 1429 after which he moved to Bruges, working for Philip until his death there in 1441. It is known that he was highly regarded by Philip, and undertook a number of diplomatic visits abroad on his behalf, including to Lisbon in 1428 to arrange the Duke’s marriage contract with Isabella of Portugal.
Most commonly, Judith is depicted carrying Holofernes’ head home in a basket, or simply holding it. There is a smaller set of paintings that show the actual execution. I think that Elisabetta Sirani was the first, but definitely not the last, to paint Judith’s moment of triumph: she has returned to Bethulia and shows the head to her fellow citizens.
The exact date of the painting is unknown, but Elisabetta Sirani died young and was active only for about ten years between 1655 and 1665.
This largish (190×140cm) painting by Matteo Rosselli was not documented until it was auctioned at Christie’s London in 1999 with an estimate of £70,000–100,000. Francesca Baldassari, who inspected it for the auction, dates it early in the career of this influential Florentine artist, around 1600, and writes:
It is hard to imagine that Cristofano Allori could have painted his famous depiction of the subject without having seen the present picture. The brocades and jewellery of Judith, contrasting with the beautifully depicted introvert expression of the maid, whose head is covered with a white shawl, are elements that must have inspired Allori when painting his picture in the 1610s.
days like this make me want to me want to rip off someone’s head.
this painting looks like the style of Tintoretto. but it is not listed with his works.
one reputable website says it is in the Prado Museum. another reputable website repeated that citation. but the Prado’s website does not acknowledge it. and internet research gets really scary when a search turns up your own blog.
so who painted this and where is it?
and while i am in this position: this was also attributed to Tintoretto by a less reputable website. a Mannerist for sure, but i am not certain this was even executed by Tintoretto. maybe in Kindergarten.
does it really have to be this difficult?
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The Glastonbury Occult Conference was a sell-out event, and a great opportunity for the folk of the British esoteric scene to gather. I’d spent most of the weekend hanging out with my children, so I wasn’t able to attend on the Friday or Saturday (though judging by the smiles of those I spoke with, the celebrations on Saturday evening had been suitably Dionysian). My talk was the final slot on Sunday afternoon and I spoke about the future of magic. Something I’ve been thinking a lot about recently.
My talk covered lots of material: the emergence of Artificial Intelligence and the magical power of technology, the wider use of magical approaches (things like psychology, mindfulness practice and the placebo effect) in culture, and the development of entheogenic spiritual traditions in the West (from rave culture to the urban ayahuasca drinkers of Europe).
mine is the ecstasy of the spirit and mine also…
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