Artist
Artemisia Gentileschi
Italian Baroque painter

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Artemisia Gentileschi
Italian Baroque painter

Birth Date

July 08, 1593

Death Date

1653

Contributor

In the 1600's women were just beginning to be tolerated in the arts, so Artemisia Gentileschi's a rare bird.

Trained by her father, a Tuscan painter who had studied with Caravaggio, she showed promising talent early on. But at 18, her budding career almost came to a grinding halt when her private tutor, the artist Agostino Tassi, raped her. Infatuated with Artemisia, jealous of her beauty and artistic talent, Tassi stalked her and then committed the crime. After the rape, Artemisia continued having sexual relations with him, on the promise that he would marry her. When it was discovered that he already had a wife, her father brought him to trial. Tassi only served 7 months in prison before being freed. However, during the rape trial, Artemisia was tortured with thumbscrews. After the trial, to salvage her reputation, she had an arranged marriage and moved to Florence. Times were tough for the ladies.

Artemisia prospered though, and had very successful career while she was in Florence. The Medici family, great patrons of art, absolutely loved her. She hung out with cool artists, Galileo was her good buddy. She was the first woman accepted into the Accademia delle Arti del Disegno (Academy of the Arts of Drawing) and she made lots of money. Life was good! Her work featured strong powerful women taking revenge, seeking retribution, basically taking no sh*t. 94% of her paintings feature women as courageous and rebellious protagonists. This was certainly unheard of in those days, but she probably had a lot of violent fantasies to work from.

 

Featured Content

Here is what Wikipedia says about Artemisia Gentileschi

Artemisia Gentileschi or Artemisia Lomi (Italian pronunciation: [arteˈmizja dʒentiˈleski]; July 8, 1593 – c. 1656) was an Italian Baroque painter, today considered one of the most accomplished painters in the generation following that of Caravaggio. In an era when female painters were not easily accepted by the artistic community or patrons, she was the first woman to become a member of the Accademia di Arte del Disegno in Florence and had international clientele.

She specialized in painting pictures of strong and suffering women from myths, allegories, and the Bible - victims, suicides, warriors. Some of her best known themes are Susanna and the Elders (particularly the 1610 in Pommersfelden) and Judith Slaying Holofernes (most famous is her 1614-20 in Galleria degli Uffizi) and Judith and Her Maidservant (her version of 1625 at the Detroit Institute of Arts).

She was known for being able to convincingly depict the female figure, anywhere between nude and fully clothed. Artemisia was also famous for her skill and talent in handling color, both overall in the composition but also in building depth.

That she was a woman painting in the seventeenth century and that she was raped as a young woman by Agostino Tassi and participated in the prosecution of her rapist long overshadowed her achievements as an artist. For many years she was regarded as a curiosity. Today she is regarded as one of the most progressive and expressive painters of her generation.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about Artemisia Gentileschi.