Made-Up History
Comments 19

Made-Up History: Gustav Klimt’s “Judith I,” 1901.

XAM36586 Apologies for skipping out on last week’s Made-Up History post! I was working on the last minute details of my latest one-man exhibit, which opened on Wednesday, and couldn’t really play with makeup and do other things. But anyway! Here is a peace offering.

If you’re new here, Made-Up History is a series I’ve been doing in which I translate some works of art into makeup looks. 🙂 I’ve already made a bunch, and you can check them out here.

For this week’s post, I have Gustav Klimt’s “Judith and the Head of Holofernes,” or “Judith I,” which is one of the first works of art that Klimt infused with gold leaf. He popularized this technique and made a name for himself when he created the much-postered-up work, “The Kiss.”


I’ve also always been drawn to the story of Judith and Holofernes, because she is definitely a strong woman in my eyes. She is one of the few brave women in Biblical accounts, though her book is part of the apocryphal texts, which means that it’s not part of the Hebrew Bible. There’s an awesome backstory as to how it got mistakenly referred to as “Salome,” which you can read here.

One of my favorite depictions of this story is Caravaggio’s “Judith Beheading Holofernes”:


There are a lot more where that came from! Check out Wikipedia’s collection of works of art inspired by this story here, because she is quite a fascinating woman.

“Judith I” is one of my favorite works, definitely lesser known than “The Kiss,” which has pretty much eclipsed anything else that Klimt has made. I love how the drawn on details of “Judith” are still the main focus of the piece, as opposed to the ornate gold leaf that engulfs the figures in “The Kiss,” and which has characterized most of Klimt’s work. The Klimt I like best is his sketches and more fluid works, though he has been most known for his use of decorative gold leaf geometry.

“Judith I” was modeled by Adele Bloch-Bauer, whom Klimt made two other portraits named after her. Her face is very angular, punctuated only with blooms of gold and red. You can read more about her here.

Onto the look! Don’t be scared, and be prepared:

MUH - Gustav Klimt - Judith - Face

I KNOW! A little extreme, am I right? I think you can see where the ruddy cheeks (c/o MAC’s Extra Dimension Blush in Fiery Impact, obviously applied very heavily) and the lip color (c/o Chanel Rouge Allure Luminous Intense in Captivante) were taken from.

I also did a bit of light contouring (c/o Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Matte & Waterproof Bronzer in Park Avenue Princess) and drew on my brows a little darker than usual (c/o The Body Shop Brow & Liner Kit in 02; dark brown only).

For the eyes, here’s what I did:

MUH - Gustav Klimt - Judith - Eyes

As you know, I don’t copy the face makeup of whatever person is on the painting. The eye makeup for this look is a combination of the eyes of Judith and the overall coloring of the painting. I obviously wanted to add a bit of gold somewhere in here.

I first applied the UD Primer Potion in Sin all over the mobile eye lid (right up to the crease), then I applied Damask from the Le Métier de Beauté Kaleidoscope Eye Kit in Silk Road on half of the outer half of the eye, blending out into Brocade from the same Kaleidoscope on the outer corners.

I wanted a pretty sheen so I put the first Browbone color from the Wet n Wild Comfort Zone Palette on the inner half of the eye, patting the same color on over the rest of the eyelid. I tightlined my upper waterline with the Eye of Horus Liner for a bit of definition.

On my lower lids, I applied a thin line of Damask close to the lower lash line and onto my water line. Under that, I smudged on Brocade with a small pointed brush.

And that was that! As always, the products I used for this look:

MUH - Gustav Klimt - Judith - Products

— The Body Shop Brow & Liner Kit (02)
— Urban Decay Primer Potion (Sin)
— Le Métier de Beauté Kaleidoscope Eye Kit (Silk Road)
— Wet n Wild Palette (Comfort Zone)
— Eye of Horus (Natural Smokey Eye Pencil)
— Nichido Clear Mascara

— K-Palette 0 Kuma Cover Control Concealer (02 Yellow Beige)
— Bourjois Healthy Mix Correcting Concealer (53 Dark Radiance)
— MAC Extra Dimension Blush (Fiery Impact)
— Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Matte & Waterproof Bronzer (Park Ave. Princess)

— Chanel Rouge Allure Luminous Intense (Captivante)


  1. I always look forward to this post because not only you post such pretty looks but it makes me learn more about art in general!

    Not sure if I missed it, but have you done a review of the Comfort Zone palette? So far, Wet n Wild is my most favorite every day eyeshadow palette and I want to know your thoughts on it.

    • Aw, thanks Justine! I think I’ve actually quickly reviewed it here:

      There’s a search bar on top of the page, in case you want to look for other posts! Just click the magnifying glass!

    • Thank you. 🙂 This wasn’t supposed to be pretty, though; just an interpretation of the art work.

  2. I like that both the painting and the makeup have dark and eerie qualities to them. This is a good look for going out!

  3. Extreme?! OMG, you look glorious and it’s a stunning adaption of that work to your beautiful face.
    I LOVE this series and this is my favorite interpretation so far.

  4. Klimt is one of my favourite artists and I really think that you’ve distilled the essence of the painting very well. I don’t find it too strong at all. It’s got colour to it, but it still looks very balanced. Wonderful idea for a series of posts!

  5. Pingback: MAC Blush Palette 2016 Update | Softly Sometimes

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