Artistic Inspiration: Female Biblical Badasses

Since there aren’t all that many good pictures of females suited for the less “gentle” characters in an RPG, I thought I’d post some of my collection today.

Lucas Cranach had a problem. That problem was a lack of creativity and an enormous need for money. Fortunately, noble ladies loved getting painted up as various historical women from the Bible, which allowed them to go punk and be socially transgressive. In the religious wars of the 16th and 17th centuries, many of them wanted to be Judith, a Hebrew woman who slew the general Holofernes in his tent during one of the Jews’ many wars over the Levant…

This is my background at the moment; an absolutely gorgeous piece. I particularly like the no-nonsense sword and the slashes in her gloves that display her ring collection. Her clothes may be velvet, but they make at least a nod to combat function, and she’s not wearing a corset so much as an armored brace. The outfit is tightened-up and easy to move in compared to the older slashed-and-strung outfits below. All in all, a great trophy shot of a higher-level Fighter.

Oh, and there’s a LOT more after the break.1336678547691
Note, again, the virtually identical necklace, clothing, and an older style (but equally no-bullshit) sword in this painting. The grip is also quite close, but this gal’s less uptight and probably lower-level than her “sister” above. Unbound hair, wearing a cape-ish dress for the portrait, and generally giving fewer overt fucks about how closely her portrait gear clings to her combat equipment.
On the topic of that sword, the “blunt”-looking, spade-like tip is actually historical. See, based on some recent tests, pointed swords can’t penetrate jack-coats with more than about 8-10 layers of quilted cloth on the thrust; these tips go right through them. Pointed swords also struggle with brigandine and buffcoats, meaning that they were mostly useful on the completely unarmored and against chain, which had gone well out-of-fashion at this point.1336676574644
For some reason, these next three young ladies were depicted as Salome instead of Judit (two are probably from Cranach’s school rather than the master himself). The two characters have similar iconography, but not quite identical – no sword, for starters. But the clothing (and background in the first) are virtually identical. It’s interesting that in every one of these 5 cases she’s depicted so young, yet inured to death. “Yup, got me a head here. Ain’t it awesome?”
(Also, Cranach did quite a few Venuses, but those have tits out and generally don’t provide much character inspiration. Same hats, backgrounds, and necklaces, though.)1336677037346

salome-cranach04 salome-misticosHere’s a more rougish Salome, from Henri Regnault. She’s sometimes shown with a sword, more often with a dagger. Interestingly, the name “Salome” is actually mostly an invention of Byron, who wrote the play of the same name. Before that, the character was usually called “Herodias”, and the story was interpreted as the evil mother using an adorable daughter to influence her husband covertly. As opposed to, y’know, incesty squick and rage over not getting the saintly dick.


I adore Caracchi’s Judith. “Yup. Killed the sonovabitch. Someone go make me a sammitch, I’m tired of sitting here”


Finally, here’s some manuscript shots of her doing the deed. This is what an assassination roll looks like, DMs. I’ll post more later, when I finish sorting my Renaissance art folders.

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