"HILLARY AND HOLOFERNES"
The theme of Judith and Holofernes, which is from the Old Testament, has been depicted throughout the history of art. In my view, the most impressive and strongest depiction of Judith and Holofernes, which was rendered with great efficacy, was by the seventeenth-century Italian painter, Artemisia Gentleshi (1597-1651). The story of the heroine Judith is inspiring because Judith is a symbol of a strong, intelligent, cunning and brave woman.
According the the apocryphal tale, the Israelites were under attack by the murderous Assyrian general, Holofernes. Judith, a handsome widow and her maidservant, Abra, successfully carried out a daring plan to save their beseiged town of Bethulia. Judith and Abra knowingly crossed the enemy lines and were taken to the tent of Holofernes where Judith enticed the general to drink so much wine that he became unconscious. In an audacious and fearless act, Judith beheaded Holofernes with his own sword. Then, Judith and Abra had to re-cross the enemy lines with the head of the Assyrian general in a basket. They placed the head of Holofernes on the city gate and when the Assyrian army saw the severed head of their general they fled in terror.
I decided to paint a parody of Gentleschi's painting depicting Judith and Holofernes using a modern-day Judith. In thinking who would symbolize a strong, tenacious, intelligent, courageous woman, I thought of Hillary Clinton. When I began my painting, which is a pro-Hillary work, Alfonz D'Mato was in the news for bad-mouthing Hillary Clinton regarding the White Water deal. He was so obnoxious--really--I had to place his head in the basket, especially when he said, "I'm no Hillary Clinton." Later, I realized there were a slew of Republican heads that belonged in the basket, so, instead of repainting the canvas several times, I added an actual basket at the bottom of the painting to hold the heads.
Next, came Kenneth Starr--he behaved so badly when he wasted untold amounts of the taxpayer's money on his silly trial. Then, Rick Lazio ran against Hillary for Senator of New York state and someone mal-advised him to leave his podium during a debate, stand in Hillary's space, wag his finger and demand an answer from her, which, of course, lost the election for him. Along came Newt Gingrich, who was in the news daily as he tried to elevate his position of Weaker . . .er , I mean. Speaker of the House to rock star-status. It's kind of difficult to take a man serious when he's named after a small reptile. His head was so big, it hardly fit in the basket. Rudy Giuliani ran briefly against HIllary in the senatorial race but had to drop out for health reasons, but I knew he'd run against Hillary in the future, so his head tumbled into the basket.
The way I see it, the biblical story of Judith and Holofernes is emblematic of women's triumph over male domination.