Judith by Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant

  • This striking Orientalist scene is the work of French painter Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant
  • The subject is Judith, the legendary Old Testament heroine who beheaded Holofernes
  • The composition exemplifies the artist's opulent style
  • Get complete item description here
Price available upon request Item No. 31-3932

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Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant
1845-1902 | French


Signed "Benjamin-Constant" (lower right)
Oil on canvas

French Orientalist painter Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant reveals himself as a master of detail and texture in this skillfully executed oil on canvas. In it, the beautiful and exotically dressed Old Testament heroine Judith dons her sword amid a luxurious Moorish-inspired interior. The artist adeptly captures the intricacies of the scene, including the contrasting patterns of the wallpaper and fabrics, Judith's silky garments and the fur at her feet. The composition alludes to the heroine's most legendary act: the beheading of the conquering general Holofernes. Judith was a favorite subject for Benjamin-Constant. He exhibited a work on the subject at the Paris Salon of 1886, and a similar scene by the artist depicting Judith bearing her sword is currently in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York). 

Regarded as one of the foremost Orientalist painters of his age, Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Toulouse from 1859 until 1866. Thanks to a scholarship, he was able to move his studies to Paris, and by 1871, he embarked on an extended journey abroad that lasted two years. In particular, his time in Moorish Spain and Morocco would have a lasting impact on his oeuvre. While there, he collected objects and made sketches that would provide the basis for numerous paintings in the years that followed.

Benjamin-Constant soon established a reputation as a painter of Orientalist scenes and became particularly renowned for his treatment of fabric and flesh. He exhibited and won medals at the Salon throughout his career and painted the portraits of Pope Leo XIII, Queen Alexandra of the United Kingdom, Lord John Lumley-Savile and Henri Blowitz, among others. Today, his works can be found in important collections around the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), the National Portrait Gallery (London) and the Musée d'Orsay (Paris). This painting was previously owned by Horst Reichelbacher, founder of Aveda Cosmetics.

Late 19th century

Canvas: 18 3/8" high x 10 3/4" wide
Frame: 22 7/8" high x 15 1/2" wide

The Estate of Horst Rechelbacher, Osceola, Wisconsin
Judith by Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant
Maker: Benjamin-Constant, Jean-Joseph
Period: 1816-1918
Origin: France
Type: Paintings
Depth: 2.5 Inches
Width: 15.5 Inches
Height: 22.88 Inches
Style: Academic
Canvas Width: 10.75 Inches
Canvas Height: 18.375 Inches
Judith by Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant
Allure of the Orient: Odalisques in 19th- & 20th-Century Art

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