Piece of the Week: ‘Judith+Holofernes’ by Franx
In “Judith+Holofernes,” Redbubbler Franx has created a stunning illustration of biblical character Judith beheading Holofernes. At first our eye is drawn to Judith’s creepy grasping hands, before being drawn downwards to reveal the full extent of Holofernes magenta bleeding neck.
Women had a pretty tough time in the bible, often being depicted as the perpetrators of something pretty nasty from the beginning, like Eve the ultimate trouble maker, or Salome who killed John the Baptist, or Delilah who took away Samson’s power. While women were also depicted as gracious and kind, there are an awful lot of stories that used women in them to teach a lesson of what not to do. Think of Potiphar’s wife or Lot’s Daughters; things got uncomfortable pretty fast. So goes the story from the Book of Judith, (which is part of the Old Testament and not found in the Hebrew Bible) which saw Judith beheading Holofernes. Judith is a lovely looking lady who knows Holofernes thinks she is a lovely looking lady. Holofernes was about to destroy Judith’s home town, so she finds him while he is incapacitated from drinking too much and is passed out. Judith decapitates him and takes his head away with her.
Franx has captured the essence of the story perfectly, the sensual swirl of Judith’s hair emits the perfect tone of seduction and desperation, and the carefully chosen purples and pink sing together beautifully. It’s easy to get lost in Judith’s seedy murderous embrace, as Holofernes’ skin color changes as his lifeless head drains of blood. Franx has created a compositional delight, the hair working as a mechanism to view the illustration, guiding us in and out of the details of the piece; Holofernes’ dead eyes, Judith’s half open eyes, or her delicate pink hands all working as signals cutting through the noisy, messy blood.
It’s stunning work, which is why we chose as our Piece of the Week.