Words empty as the wind are best left unsaid.


A picture is worth a thousand words.

~Napoleon Bonaparte

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Women in mythology and religion part II, Judith, Salome, and Delilah

Judith, Salome and Delilah depict women in a very different light than Women in mythology and  religion part I.

To view Women in Mythology and Religion part I click here

The Book of Judith is a deuterocanonical book, included in the Septuagint and the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Christian Old Testament of the Bible, but excluded by Jews and Protestants. The book contains numerous historical anachronisms, which is why many scholars now accept it as non-historical; it has been considered a parable or perhaps the first historical novel.

Judith, the heroine of the book. She is a widow, once married to a certain Manasses. She uses her charm to become an intimate friend of Holofernes, but finally beheads him allowing Israel to counter-attack the Assyrians.
Holofernes, the villain of the book. He is a devout soldier of his king, whom he wants to see exalted in all lands. He is given the task of destroying the rebels who didn't support the king of Nineveh in his resistance against Cheleud and the king of Media, until Israel also becomes a target of his military campaign. Judith's charm occasions his death.

                                   Tintoretto, Judith and Holofernes

 Sandro BOTTICELLI, Judith Leaving the Tent of Holofernes

  Sandro BOTTICELLI The Return of Judith to Bethulia

      TIZIANO Vecellio, Judith

 Valentin de Boulogne, Judith

       Judith and the Head of Holofernes by Paolo Veronese

 Giorgio Vasari,  Judith and Holofernes

   Artemisia GENTILESCHI, Judith and Her Maidservant

  Cristoforo Allori, Judith with the Head of Holofernes

                          Franz von Stuck, Judith und Holofernes

                                               Gustav Klimt,  Copy of Judith I

Salome was the stepdaughter of Herod Antipas. Salome danced before Herod and her mother Herodias at the occasion of his birthday, and in doing so gave her mother the opportunity to obtain the head of John the Baptist. According to Mark's gospel Herodias bore a grudge against John for stating that Herod's marriage to her was unlawful; she encouraged Salome to demand that John be executed.
And when a convenient day was come, that Herod on his birthday made a supper to his lords, high captains, and chief estates of Galilee; And when the daughter of the said Herodias came in, and danced, and pleased Herod and them that sat with him, the king said unto the damsel, Ask of me whatsoever thou wilt, and I will give it thee. And he sware unto her, Whatsoever thou shalt ask of me, I will give it thee, unto the half of my kingdom. And she went forth, and said unto her mother, What shall I ask? And she said, The head of John the Baptist.
                                  Gustave Moreau, The Tatooed Salome

 Gustave Moreau, The Apparition

 Alfons Mucha, Salome
 Circle of Rembrandt, The Beheading of St. John the Baptist.
  Guido Reni  Salome with the Head of John the Baptist 
                                                            Henry Lévy

 Mattia Preti, Salome with the Head of St John the Baptist

  Caravaggio, Salome with the Head of John the Baptist

 Salome and the head of John the Baptist by Guercino
 Cesare da Sesto, Salomè with head of John the Baptist

 Gustave Moreau, Salome Carrying the Head of John the Baptist on a Platter

Delilah meaning "[She who] weakened or uprooted or impoverished" from the root dal meaning "weak or poor") appears only in the Hebrew bible Book of Judges 16, where she is the "woman in the valley of Sorek" whom Samson loved, and who was his downfall. Her figure, one of several dangerous temptresses in the Hebrew bible, has become emblematic: "Samson loved Delilah, she betrayed him, and, what is worse, she did it for money"

Rubens,  Samson and Delilah

          Guercino, Samson and Delilah,


Anthony van Dyck, Simson and Delilah

 Bartolomeo Biscaino Samson and Delilah

 Domenico Fiasella, Samson and Delilah

Gerrit Harmensz. van HonthorstSamson and Delilah

 John Francis Rigaud, Samson breaking his bands or Samson and Delilah

  Rembrandt, Samson and Delilah.

 Alexandre Cabanel, Samson and Delilah  

 Gustave Moreau, Samson and Delilah