LAMA, Giulia
(b. ca. 1681, Venezia, d. ca. 1747, Venezia)

Judith and Holofernes

c. 1730
Oil on canvas, 107 x 155 cm
Gallerie dell'Accademia, Venice

Of the pupils of Piazzetta, Giulia Lama was certainly the one who showed the finest artistic temperament. She took her teacher's early period severity of colour and chiaroscuro and accentuated them in interpretations of vibrantly dramatic quality. In 'Judith and Holofernes' the moment preceding the bloody event is charged with expressionistic accents through the violent effect with which the sudden aggressive light evokes the supine body of Holofernes, the figure of Judith intent in propitiary prayer and the figure of the old serving woman almost wholly enveloped in shadows. Such calculated and skilful scenic arrangement as seen in the foreshortening of the figures and the masterly control over the light, create an effect which is definitely not naturalistic but which aims rather at pleasing melodramatic intensity.

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