The Justice of Judith by Chasnie DiPaola
The Justice of Judith: A Discussion of the Tarot Card
I chose to draw the title character from the poem Judith (from Cotton Vitellius A manuscript). She is depicted in my artwork on a Tarot Card, and the pose captured on the card is the pivotal scene in the poem where she begins to behead Holofernes. I chose to depict her as Justice, as this is a card that represents both dispensing justice to those who’ve wronged you, as well as representing the judgement faced for these decisions. I feel this card represents Judith the greatest, as she acts on behalf of her people to free them from the tyrannical power Holofernes holds over the city, and she does so while calling upon the judgement of God to guide her actions. She screams out, “Almighty Lord, / bright-minded Glory-Giver, grant me vengeance; / let my mind’s fury inflame my heart!” which I have called back to through the etchings in the top frame of the card (Line 92-94).
As for the colors and symbolisms, I have chosen to dress her in white to represent that even in violence, she is pure in the eyes of God. I tried to depict her eyes and sword as glowing with divine light, and she is looking up to the sky to seek her God’s guidance. The blue accents on her dress represent how she takes on the role of the typical male protagonist, showing actions with masculine connotation such as taking destiny into her own hands, while still retaining her femininity and radiance. Her sword is pointed downwards to represent the end of conflict, rather than the readiness for battle that an upwards-facing drawn sword suggests. The flowers surrounding her are Black Eyed Susan, which represent justice and the ability to overcome. I’ve also depicted Holofernes as blonde with a royal purple shoulder plate adorned with golden flowers, as to make him appear royal and powerful. I read once that purple was the most expensive dye, and I imagined that pairing this dye with gold—upon a surface meant to be damaged nonetheless—represented exorbitant wealth. I felt the use of all these symbolisms helped to further the image I was trying to capture, retelling the story of Judith through a visual means.
How to cite this research:
DiPaola, Chasnie. "The Justice of Judith." In Reading the Middle Ages, supvr. Teresa Russo, Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (MARS), Brock University, March 2021, Niagara (The Justice of Judith by Chasnie DiPaola · Reading the Middle Ages: Oral and Literate Cultures · Brock University Library). Digital Scholarship Lab (DSL), Tim Ribaric and Daniel Brett.
DiPaola, Chasnie. "The Justice of Judith: A Discussion of the Tarot Card." In Reading the Middle Ages, supvr. and ed. Teresa Russo, Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (MARS), Brock University, March 2021, Niagara (The Justice of Judith by Chasnie DiPaola · Reading the Middle Ages: Oral and Literate Cultures · Brock University Library). Digital Scholarship Lab (DSL), Tim Ribaric and Daniel Brett.