Seattle Art Museum Downtown
Oct 17, 2019–Jan 26, 2020, Wednesdays–Sundays
Recommended by Jasmyne Keimig
Flesh and Blood consists of 40 works by Spanish, Italian, and French Renaissance and Baroque master artists. These works are from the collection of Museo e Real Bosco di Capodimonte, in the hills of Naples, Italy, and this is the first time many of them have traveled together. Perhaps the most exciting thing is the inclusion of Italian Baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi's Judith and Holofernes (1612–1613). It depicts the Old Testament story of Judith, a beautiful Jewish heroine, assassinating the Assyrian general Holofernes. Judith used her looks and Holofernes's desire to get into his tent, where he passed out after drinking too much. Judith used this opportunity to behead the general with a giant sword, absconding with his decapitated head and saving her city and the people in it. Gentileschi's Judith is clothed, and she shows absolutely no qualms about the task. The surety and determination on her face is matched by the way she grabs Holofernes's hair, holding him so that she can position the sword accurately. She's a butcher of tyrannical men.