Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Heads and Tails

Judith with the Head of Holofernes.
Sandro Botticelli.
c. 1468-69.
Cincinati Art Museum.

Based on the Book of Judith from the Apocrypha.
A popular scene in the 15th century as an example of feminine virtue.

Also admired much earlier. Attached to a Beowulf MS, fragments of a Judith poem in Anglo-Saxon survive - described as a work of remarkable power and beauty.
Judith herself is lauded therein as a woman "of fairy beauty," and a "maid of wisdom."(glimpse of a plot bunny)

Nice falchion she has there, as she and her maid saunter back to Bethulia.
Holofernes, the Assyrian general, was, of course, the victim of a certain masculine arrogance and betrayed by his balls.
Lost his head over a sexy female.
A weakness exploited systematically over the centuries by fervent idealists and intelligence agencies of every ilk, and found frequently in fiction.
Judy justice.
A tradition in art, literature and history.
Marie Anne Charlotte de Corday d'Armont tried the same trick. Unfortunately she also lost her head in that instance.
The trick is getting out from under after.

I keep wondering though, what Judith is saying to her maid in this painting - or the maid to her.
(Maid) Bastard's heavy...
Judy) Just. Don't. Drop. It. Or we're screwed.

Irreverent dialogue is requested.


Erik Ivan James said...

Maid: I wish you'd have let me screw him too, before you lopped off his head!

Judy: Well, you know how it is... once you get your nuts, you can't stand the bastard.

December Quinn said...

Yes, but Charlotte Corday did it with such style!

Judy: Hurry with that water, or I'll do the same to you!

Maid: (I wish she would. I'm sick of hearing her talk bout how beautiful she is.)

Bernita said...


Thank you both.

Jaye Wells said...

Judith does sound like ripe pickings for plot bunnies. One is reminded of The Red Tent and how the entire novel was written about Dinah, who's role in The Bible was pretty small.

Judith: Did you just mumble something?

Maid: I said, you look like an ass! Look at you there, mincing your way to town with your wee sword and symbolic twig, ready to play the heroine. It's ridiculous. You know, one of these days, I'm not going to be around to decapitate someone, and where will you be?

Judith: Oh. Is that all? I thought you said, I look like I have mass. Wheh! Now, fall back a bit, you're crowding my space in the composition.

Ric said...

Judith: Men are so easy - they always think with their balls.

Maid: Would have been easier to carry.

MissWrite said...

LOL at all of you, RIC that was hilarious.

AE Rought said...

Judith: He has no idea that I have his balls tucked into the folds of this gown...

Maid: (to herself) She has no idea what I have tucked into this basket! (to Judith) Aye. He is missing much to be sought after...

Bernita said...

I'm always on the look-out for hints of priestesses and such, Jaye.
Yup, there's a number of barely-mentioned females who have interesting stories.
I assume there's some sort of symbolism regarding that wispy bit of olive branch, but your maid has a point...

Ric, that is perfect!
Oh! Oh!
There is, unfortunately, something traditional and distinctive about heads.

Bernita said...

Ha! She is a little on the slender side, Savannah!

raine said...

Maid: Bloody inflation! Can you BELIEVE how the price of heads in the market has gone up?

Judy (vacantly waving olive branch): What's 'inflation'?

Robyn said...

Judith: Oh, all right, you baby. I'll carry the head for awhile.

Bernita said...

Hee, Raine,Robyn, do look as if they're strolling their way home from the market, don't they?

He's the one with the "headache."

Judith: "Quit yer bitchin'. It was his head or our maiden's heads."

Bonnie Calhoun said...

Maid: *sigh* This sucker is heavy!

Judith: Stop whining. I told you that you were going to have to carry the head.

Maid: Well with where the conversation was going, I didn't know you meant that head!

Yikes! Did I say that? *blush*

Bernita said...

Hmmm, Bonnie...was going to issue a "fan alert" for tomorrow or the next day, but maybe it's unnecessary...

archer said...

"Are you going to do this every time some idiot moons us?"

Gabriele C. said...

I really can't think of any intelligent caption without just stealing from others here.

Bonnie ... I'm shocked, I tell you, shocked. :)

Bernita said...

Good one, Archer!

All variations on a theme are welcome, Gabriele!

Bonnie Calhoun said... am I...LOL...I've been so corrupted this week...It all started over on Novel Journey with a counting cusswords post! Sigh...I need a fan...ROFLOL!

ali said...

There's a poem about Judith that I like a lot. I just can't remember the title or the author.

lol at all the captions...

Steve said...

Maid: I hate having him tower over me.

Judy: I know, but we're still a head of the game.

Gabriele C. said...

Bonnie, to further corrupt you, you can read the retelling of a French epic on my blog. In French epics, God sometimes performs miracles when needed, like when he stops the sun so Charlemagne can take his revenge upon the heathens that killed Roland, but in this particular example, it's a more mundane reason. :)

Bernita said...

Nice to see you, Ali.

"...we're still ahead of the game."
Like that, Steve.

Carla said...

Maid: Why do I have to carry it?
Judith: Because I'm the one that's got the sword.

Bernita said...

I like that one, Carla.
The basic simplicity!