Judith, the Assassin
Keepsake, 1932, Claude Cahun via Don’t Kiss Me
Judith, 1926, Marcel Moore via Jersey Heritage Trust
Portrait, 1932, Claude Cahun/Marcel Moore via Don’t Kiss Me
This illustration of Judith (middle) by Marcel Moore accompanied Cahun’s 1925 Héroïnes, a series of 15 monologues by famous Western women drawn from Greek mythology, the Bible, children’s stories, and pop culture. Cahun uses this book to give new twists on the identities and subjectivities of these women, including figures such as Judith, Eve, Helen of Troy, and Belle from Beauty and the Beast. Cahun reinvents them, rendering them as complex, multi-faceted, and enigmatic women. By surprising the viewer with a drastic shift, such as Judith being painted as a sadist rather than a pious widow, Cahun drives a wedge into our assumptions. Judith, as a sadist, gains a level of autonomy and self-awarness she had been lacking before.