Friday, May 11, 2018

A Bible history painting that confronts the presence of black female stereotypes

Kehinde Wiley, Judith and Holofernes, 2012, oil on linen, 120 x 90 in., Purchased with funds from Mr. and Mrs. Gordon Hanes in honor of Dr. Emily Farnham, by exchange, and from the North Carolina State Art Society (Robert F. Phifer Bequest), by exchange
RALEIGH, N.C.—Purchased in 2012 by the North Carolina Museum of Art, "Judith and Holofernes" is from Kehinde Wiley’s first series of paintings to feature female subjects. Wiley uses “street casting” to find his models—walking city streets and asking ordinary people if they would pose for a portrait. This painting references a specific art-historical work, a 17th-century painting by Giovanni Baglione, Judith and the Head of Holofernes (1608). The subject is taken from the apocryphal Old Testament Book of Judith, in which a Jewish town is under attack by the Assyrian army led by the general Holofernes. Judith, a widow from the town, goes to Holofernes under the pretense of helping him defeat the Jews. After he falls asleep, she cuts his head off with his own sword, and the town defeats the army.
Giovanni Baglione, Judith and the Head of Holofernes (1608)