Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Chasing Judith ~ Finding Caravaggio

I didn't know her name so I thought of her as "The Woman in Orange".  With her striking attire & direct gaze, she seemed familiar; someone I really should have recognized.  Nevertheless Judith lead me on a delightful chase before revealing her secrets.

I first glimpsed her in a photo of the hallway of the Princess Margaret Oakville Showhome 2015.  I thought she was stunning.  Imagine having a home where she is one of the first things you see coming through the door.

Unlikely to happen for me in real life but more than feasible in Second Life!

Through the magic of 3D Architecture, I too could (virtually) enjoy this fabulous Living/Dining Room as designed by Brian Gluckstein.

First order of business, track down that inspirational piece of art.

I thought it would be easy but then I saw it described as "Stock Photo" in the Source Guide. "Stock Photo" my eye!  Apparently my search was going to be a bit more challenging.

Time to use some Google-fu.

My initial search for "woman orange classic painting" turned up a number of likely candidates including The Lute Player by Orazio Gentileschi.  I'm no art expert but it seemed to me that I was going in the right direction as far as style & colour were concerned.

I also remembered Orazio was one of the Italian painters influenced by Caravaggio and I had been fortunate enough to actually see some of his work displayed at the National Gallery of Canada in the exhibit Caravaggio and His Followers in Rome.

The works of Caravaggio & Orazio were stunning, but it was the story of Artemisia Gentileschi that I found most interesting.  Daughter of Orazio, Artemisia
was an Italian Baroque painter, today considered one of the most accomplished painters in the generation following that of Caravaggio. In an era when women painters were not easily accepted by the artistic community or patrons, she was the first woman to become a member of the Accademia di Arte del Disegno in Florence.[1] 
She painted many pictures of strong and suffering women from myth and the Bible – victims, suicides, warriors.[2]
 Artemisia strikes me as a strong woman definitely not to be trifled with.  I also think of her as the "head in the basket" painter as her most famous works include Judith Slaying Holofernes

and Judith and her Maid Servant (take a good look in the basket, that's no kitten she's carrying).

My up-close-and-personal viewing of this painting had left quite an impression and I began to wonder if the mysterious "Woman in Orange" had any connection.  Could she perhaps be Judith?

With one further search for Judith beheading Holofernes I hit pay dirt

Judith with the Head of Holofernes by Cristofano Allori.  There she was in all her glory holding a severed head!

No wonder they went with the caption "Stock Photo".  I might find her background fascinating but I can imagine that some might find it a bit off-putting knowing who was actually gracing their dining room wall.

And so Judith took me on a marvelous journey, from Orazio to Caravaggio to  Artemisia to Allori (with a side trip to Picasso but more about that later).  

Along with Brian Gluckstein she also inspired me to tackle my very first attempt at building a contemporary home in Second Life.  I'm calling this one Maison Margaux in honour of Princess Margaret of course.

I intend to fill this brand-new abode with some of the fabulous art I've found along the way, not only Judith but The Lute Player and Picasso's Seated Woman which looks to me like Picasso riffing on Orazio.

I never would have discovered any of this without Judith.  Thanks for the chase!

Exploring History, Art, and Architecture via a Virtual World indeed.
Chasing Judith ~ Finding Caravaggio by  on 2015-11-04 I really should have recognized her but Judith led me on a delightful chase before revealing her secrets!

Images & Graphics not denoted in text: Tatiana Dokuchic (click to enlarge)

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