Sunday, January 8, 2012
AIC: European Galleries [Jan Sanders van Hemessen - Judith]
1540 / Oil on canvas
By Jan Sanders van Hemessen.. [Neatherland, 1500-1556]..
For saving the Jewish people from the armies of the Assyrian general Holofernes, the biblical Judith was viewed as a model of civic virtue in the renaissance. The beautiful widow cut off the head of the drunken and besotted general after willingly entering his camp. Jan van Hemessen's interpretation of Judith as a powerful nude stresses her courage and also reflects contemporary ambivalence towards the seductive viles she used against Holofernes, the dangerous power of woman was a recurrent and ironic theme in the art of the late Middle Ages and Renaissance in Northern Europe..
He was a Flemish Northern Renaissance painter. He was born in Hemiksem, then called Hemessen or Heymissen. Following studies in Italy, in 1524 he settled in Antwerp. A mannerist, his images focused on human failings such as greed and vanity. Like his daughter, Catarina van Hemessen, he specialised in painted portraits..