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Artemisia at Her Canvas


by Sam Rasnake


                 — during or just after the trial of Agostino Tassi, 1612

 

After Judith Slaying Holofernes,

a flawless symmetry of blind pursuit

that even Caravaggio couldn't get at

with his paints, this darker vengeance

that would never rest in the sacred

or profane, did find its own truth, its

mound of flesh in full measures of rage

by her determined hand — his head

slipping free of its stubborn shoulders,

no worries of kingdom then, of lies or

damaged goods, to twisted bedsheet

in great spurts of blood, then a slow

and beautiful silence, such sweet

payback for art's willful grieving


Artemisia Gentileschi's Work Comes to Chicago - WSJ
                                   Judith Slaying Holofernes, 1612-1613
            
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