Quantcast

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston presents "Portrait of Courage: Gentileschi, Wiley, and the Story of Judith" opening day

eventdetail
Photo courtesy of Kehinde Wiley, the North Carolina Museum of Art, and Sean Kelly, New York

Two paintings created 400 years apart raise contemporary issues through a historical lens. Both depict the Old Testament story of Judith slaying Holofernes.

Artemisia Gentileschi’s 17th-century Judith and Holofernes and Kehinde Wiley’s 21st-century Judith and Holofernes continue their national tour at the MFAH. "Portrait of Courage: Gentileschi, Wiley, and the Story of Judith" places the two paintings in dialogue with one another, revealing shared narratives and ideas across time and culture.

The subject of the paintings comes from the Old Testament Book of Judith. A Jewish town is under attack by the Assyrian army, led by the general Holofernes. Judith, a courageous local widow, dresses in finery and visits the enemy camp under the pretense of helping Holofernes defeat the Israelites. Enchanted by Judith’s beauty, Holofernes invites her to dinner, and after he falls asleep she severs his head with his own sword. The Assyrians flee, and the Jewish people are liberated.

The story of Judith and Holofernes - the vulnerable rising to slay a hostile invader, the oppressed overthrowing the oppressor -holds enduring appeal. Over the centuries, Judith has been variously interpreted as a virtuous young woman, a seductive femme fatale, and a brave heroine by artists from Botticelli, Rembrandt, and Caravaggio to Klimt. In depicting a woman’s act of courageous defiance, the paintings by Italian artist Gentileschi and American artist Wiley both address timeless issues of gender, race, violence, oppression, and social power.

The exhibition will remain on display through April 16.

Two paintings created 400 years apart raise contemporary issues through a historical lens. Both depict the Old Testament story of Judith slaying Holofernes.

Artemisia Gentileschi’s 17th-century Judith and Holofernes and Kehinde Wiley’s 21st-century Judith and Holofernes continue their national tour at the MFAH. "Portrait of Courage: Gentileschi, Wiley, and the Story of Judith" places the two paintings in dialogue with one another, revealing shared narratives and ideas across time and culture.

The subject of the paintings comes from the Old Testament Book of Judith. A Jewish town is under attack by the Assyrian army, led by the general Holofernes. Judith, a courageous local widow, dresses in finery and visits the enemy camp under the pretense of helping Holofernes defeat the Israelites. Enchanted by Judith’s beauty, Holofernes invites her to dinner, and after he falls asleep she severs his head with his own sword. The Assyrians flee, and the Jewish people are liberated.

The story of Judith and Holofernes - the vulnerable rising to slay a hostile invader, the oppressed overthrowing the oppressor -holds enduring appeal. Over the centuries, Judith has been variously interpreted as a virtuous young woman, a seductive femme fatale, and a brave heroine by artists from Botticelli, Rembrandt, and Caravaggio to Klimt. In depicting a woman’s act of courageous defiance, the paintings by Italian artist Gentileschi and American artist Wiley both address timeless issues of gender, race, violence, oppression, and social power.

The exhibition will remain on display through April 16.

WHEN

WHERE

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
1001 Bissonnet St, Houston, TX 77005, USA
https://www.mfah.org/exhibitions/portrait-of-courage-gentileschi-wiley-story-of-judith

TICKET INFO

Free-$19

All events are subject to change due to weather or other concerns. Please check with the venue or organization to ensure an event is taking place as scheduled.