Judith Behedding Holofernes by Mark Sheeky

G136A Judith Behedding Holofernes
Oil on panel
Mar to Jun 2008, Size 568x740 mm

Detail from Judith Behedding Holofernes by Mark Sheeky Detail from Judith Behedding Holofernes by Mark Sheeky

About this painting
I knew this subject primarily from the paintings by Carravagio and Artemesia Gentileschi, and inspired, quickly drew an idea, with a naked Judith seen from the side, pulling the head upwards making the neck like toffee.

A leaping Judith decapitates the shocked Holofernes with efficiency. To the right Judith reclines, less realistic and faded in hues like a memory. She resists in terror, unable to face the advancing cones, so terrified that the painting itself shatters into triangluar shards. The roses ellude to seduction, but the picture lacks romance, containing only fear and vengeance. Perhaps this painting is more about the rape of Artemesia Gentileschi than the seduction of Holofernes by Judith.

Technical details
Implementation of this picture was difficult, and was my first to feature multiple figures in anything like a realistic setting. The original idea, only about 3cm high, had much more geometrical abstraction and had Holofernes holding the horn like a lance.