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Danaë was a popular subject in the early 1900’s for many artists; she was used as the quintessential symbol of divine love, and transcendence. While imprisoned by her father, King of Argos, in a tower of bronze, Danaë was visited by Zeus, symbolized here as the golden rain flowing between her legs. It is apparent from the subject's face that she is aroused by the golden stream. In this work, she is curled in a sumptuous royal purple veil which refers to her imperial lineage. Sometime after her celestial visitation she gave birth to a son, Perseus, who is cited later in Greek mythology for slaying the Gorgon Medusa and rescuing Andromeda.
Judith was a wealthy and beautiful young widow living in a hilltop town called Bethuliah. During a siege of her town, she undertook a daring and sexually ambiguous mission to save her people from annihilation. At great personal risk, and with only her maid by her side, she went into the camp of Holofernes, the Assyrian commander-in-chief of the enemy forces. He had a fearsome reputation, but she charmed him, even managing to hold his sexual advances at bay. Once she had lulled him into a sense of security she tempted him into getting drunk, then she took his own sword down from where it hung on his bedpost, and hacked off his head as he lay in a stupor. With his head wrapped in the bed curtain, she returned triumphantly to her own people in Bethuliah. The head of Holofernes, hung on the town ramparts, caused panic among the Assyrians who fled in great disorder. Her story is a variant on the David and Goliath story, where a seemingly weak person overcomes a person of superior strength by calling on God's help and using cunning and intelligence.