What's this about?
This place setting at The Dinner Party is for the Biblical heroine Judith. Each place setting, the plate itself and the runner, is designed for a specific mythical or historical woman. There is a sword through the "J" of Judith's name, which is a reference to her killing Holofernes to save her people.
What does the Hebrew to the left of Judith's place setting translate to?
According to Judy Chicago, the Hebrew on both sides of the plate, together, is meant to read "Judith, heroine to her people." I believe that right side is just her name and the description is to the left.
Who is Judith and why is she at the Dinner Party table?
Judith is a Biblical heroine! She saved her hometown of Bethulia by beheading the Assyrian army official, Holofernes, in his tent.
The colors of this setting are based on the most famous painting of Judith and Holofernes by the artist Artemesia Gentileschi, also represented at The Dinner Party.
Who was Judith?
Judith is a biblical heroine, who is said to have lived during the 6th century BCE. According to the Book of Judith, she single handedly saved her entire town from invading Assyrians, ultimately rescuing the entire kingdom of Judah.
Is this a hamentashen?
It does look like a hamentaschen, doesn't it? Judith's runner is designed to reflect the garments of middle eastern brides, according to Chicago, so it is more of a geometric decorative detail.
Who was Judith married to?
Judith was married to Esau. She is also famous for beheading the general Holofernes. I believe by this point in her life, she was a widow.
In The Dinner Party installation, there is a place setting for Judith - is that the same Biblical character that Artemisia Gentileschi painted?
Yes! This is the Judith of "Judith and Holofernes" fame!
In fact, the dark colors and high contrast of the plate are a reference to Gentileschi's painting of Judith slaying Holofernes. Plus, Gentileschi is also represented at the table, so we know Chicago admired her!
I think so, too!
If you look at the fabric runner under the plate...the styling of the runner is based on the garments of Middle Eastern brides. On either side of the plate, there is a Hebrew inscription reading: “Judith, heroine to her people.”