Serenity, disbelief and relief in Donatello’s Judith.
Peaceful, righteous body language.
But from looked at from below Judith becomes horrific, intimidating, eerie and anuncanny smile forms due to a misplaced shadow.
Judith cannot be seen in her puritanical Biblical original context; the one who protects her honour as well as her people. In Donatello’s work, Judith is symbol for this courage towards a community. But due to our continuing grow and want of individualisation in people, as well as objects and animals, Judith becomes one woman threathened by rape and life, who takes the sexualisation that makes her a victim of this and ultimately uses this as a weapon of power by entering Holofernes’s tent and deheading him coldly, silently, serenely.
I am developing a tiny obsession with Greek & Roman myths and especially the Gods appearing in it! I’ve recently stared reading Ovid’s Metamorphoses and despite never having a full interest herein and initially expecting myself to get bored of it quite soon I am completely addicted and I’ve stared Googling like mad (my favourite pas time, I must say!). So I decided to share my all-time favourite sculpture since I haven’t updated in such a long time.
Here’s a wonderful hymn to Nike, the Greek godess of victory:
Orphic Hymn 33 to Nike (trans. Taylor) (Greek hymns C3rd B.C. to 2nd A.D.) :
“To Nike (Victory), Fumigation from Manna. O powerful Nike, by men desired, with adverse breasts to dreadful fury fired, thee I invoke, whose might alone can quell contending rage and molestation fell. ‘Tis thine in battle to confer the crown, the victor’s prize, the mark of sweet renown; for thou rulest all things, Nike divine! And glorious strife, and joyful shouts are thine. Come, mighty Goddess, and thy suppliant bless, with sparkling eyes, elated with success; may deeds illustrious thy protection claim, and find, led on by thee, immortal fame.”
This is by far my favourite Greek sculpture! Oh, I still remember when I first saw it! It was -rather cheesily put- as if time stopped for me and all I could do was stare with an open mouth. It’s as if this marble Nike is about to fly off into some mysterious Greek myth, suddenly come alive and be the most gorgeous woman of all times. Even is she is headless! She seems completely weightless and so full of life and energy, I could stare at this all day! Aaah, I need to visit the Louvre one of these days!