Judith II (1909) by Gustav Klimt

Judith II - Gustav Klimt - 1909

Artwork Information

TitleJudith II
ArtistGustav Klimt
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions178 x 46 cm
Art MovementArt Nouveau
Current LocationCa' Pesaro (International Gallery of Modern Art), Venice, Italy

About Judith II

The artwork “Judith II” by Gustav Klimt, created in 1909, is an oil on canvas painting embodying the Art Nouveau movement. The piece measures 178 by 46 centimeters and can be classified within the genre of literary painting. Currently, this work is housed at the Ca’ Pesaro (International Gallery of Modern Art) in Venice, Italy.

“Judith II” by Gustav Klimt presents a visually rich tableau with an intense interplay of colors and intricate patterns—a hallmark of Klimt’s style. The elongated composition features a central figure, evoking the biblical figure of Judith, renowned for her seduction and decapitation of Holofernes, a general of the invading Assyrian army. Her expression is enigmatic, imbued with a potent blend of sensuality and detachment.

Her head is adorned with an ornate headdress, and she wears an embellished choker. Her visage is turned slightly, offering a profile view that adds a quiet drama to the painting. The luxurious fabrics and motifs adorning her attire suggest opulence and an otherworldly aura. The background and the garments shimmer with decorative elements and abstract designs, quintessential of the Art Nouveau aesthetic.

Below the central figure, there is another depiction which appears to be the head of Holofernes, an allusion to the climax of Judith’s story. The use of gold tones and swirling patterns creates a tapestry-like effect, harmonizing the entire composition and leading the viewer’s eye across the canvas to uncover its narrative and decorative elements. Klimt’s “Judith II” thus stands as a testament to the artist’s mastery over form, color, and symbolism within the iconography of fin-de-siècle Vienna.

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