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Judith Decapitating Holofornes

Judith Decapitating Holofornes

Judith Decapitating Holofornes is an oil on canvas painting made by Artemisia Gentileschi between 1612 and 1613. This is one of Gentileschi’s most popular art pieces, believed to be a self-portrait. She is believed to have reflected her own life experiences in the character of Judith because of her abuse by her father’s colleague. Most importantly, this painting reflects several elements of art and design principles.

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One of the principles of design reflected in this art is hierarchy. The most important elements of art should always appear as the most important (Zhao et al., 24). This painting is about decapitation; hence, this is the most noticeable part of the art. Gentileschi used contrast to make this part of the painting stand out. There is a very deep contrast between the background of the painting and the activity that is happening in the foreground. The background is completely black to eliminate the possibility of people focusing on what is happening in the back.

The painting also uses lines, which accentuate the details of the events depicted. Lines are a fundamental element of art, used as a starting point for artistic creations (32). There is a clear use of lines that are used to depict the main characters as well as the beddings they are on. The blood flowing from Holofornes neck also shows a clear use of lines.

There is also a different use of texture in the painting. The texture is the perceived surface quality of the art. There are different textures visible in this painting. For instance, the bedsheets have a soft, cotton-like texture, while the blankets have a velvety texture. The characters’ skin has a soft texture, making them seem realistically human.

Most importantly, there is unity in all of the features of the painting. All of the features of the painting come together to depict a single event, decapitation. Every element of art and principle of design that has been used brings the main message of the painting to the attention of the viewer.

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Works Cited

Zhao, Sicheng, et al. I am exploring principles-of-art features for image emotion recognition. Proceedings of the 22nd ACM international conference on Multimedia. 2014.


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