Judith-II, 1909 by Gustav Klimt

Despite the furore surrounding his earlier painting of Judith I, Klimt returned to the subject eight years later. Like Love, Judith II has a wide frame on either side. As with Judith I, the frame is gilded, but the background of the actual painting is no longer gold but a deep, warm, orange-red colour. After The Kiss, Klimt stopped using gold to achieve a decorative effect and turned to colour instead.

As in Judith I, Klimt has shown his model with fine, material bindings round her neck, again separating her head from her body. Her torso is partly exposed by her dress, which seems to fall off her shoulders, and her body is cropped by the edge of the picture frame. As in the first painting, the head of Holofernes is dramatically amputated, not only at the neck but also across his face, this time by a swathe of fabric, rather than by the frame. The juxtaposition of titillating nudity and violence is still shocking and the detail of the jewellery, hair ornaments and decorated background add to the uneasy contrast.