Judith I (1901) by Gustav Klimt

Judith I - Gustav Klimt - 1901

Artwork Information

TitleJudith I
ArtistGustav Klimt
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions84 x 42 cm
Art MovementArt Nouveau
Current LocationBelvedere, Vienna, Austria

About Judith I

“Judith I” is an esteemed artwork by Gustav Klimt, created in the year 1901. The artist’s medium of choice was oil on canvas, and the piece is an embodiment of the Art Nouveau style. Measuring 84 by 42 centimeters, “Judith I” classifies as a religious painting, and it is currently housed at the Belvedere in Vienna, Austria.

The artwork depicts the biblical figure of Judith, exuding an aura of both sensuality and power. Judith’s face is the focal point, portrayed with closed eyes and a slight smile, hinting at an inner sense of satisfaction or conquest. Her appearance is ornate; she adorns a gilded and jeweled choker that underscores her elegance. The background features intricate patterns and motifs, common in Klimt’s works, with floral and geometric elements that create a rich, decorative tapestry. The use of gold leaf and a diverse palette imbues the piece with a luxurious and otherworldly quality.

The inclusion of Judith’s name, along with that of Holofernes, inscribed at the top of the work, directly references the narrative from the apocryphal Book of Judith, where Judith beheads the Assyrian general Holofernes. This context adds dramatic tension and complexity to the artwork, striking a balance between beauty and the violent act she is renowned for. Klimt has skillfully married the aesthetic of the Art Nouveau movement with a historic, religious subject to create a compelling and enigmatic piece that continues to captivate audiences.

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