Artemisia Gentileschi
Italian Baroque painter



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Artemisia Gentileschi
Italian Baroque painter
Average: 5 (4 votes)

Birth Date

July 08, 1593

Death Date


Arty Fact

melliot's picture


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.


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Here is what Wikipedia says about Artemisia Gentileschi

Artemisia Lomi or Artemisia Gentileschi (US: /ˌɛntɪˈlɛski, -tˈ-/,Italian: [arteˈmiːzja dʒentiˈleski]; July 8, 1593 – c. 1656) was an Italian Baroque painter, now considered one of the most accomplished seventeenth-century artists working in the style of Caravaggio. In an era when women had few opportunities to pursue artistic training or work as professional artists, Artemisia was the first woman to become a member of the Accademia di Arte del Disegno in Florence and had an international clientele.

Artemisia specialized in scenes of heroines and stories centered on women from myths, allegories, and the Bible, including victims, suicides, and warriors. Some of her best known subjects are Susanna and the Elders (particularly the 1610 version in Pommersfelden), Judith Slaying Holofernes (her 1614–1620 version is in the Uffizi gallery), and Judith and Her Maidservant (her version of 1625 is at the Detroit Institute of Arts).

Artemisia was known for being able to depict the female figure with great naturalism and for her skill in handling color to express dimension and drama.

The story of her rape by Agostino Tassi when she was a young woman, and her participation in the trial of her rapist long overshadowed her achievements as an artist. For many years, Artemisia was regarded as a curiosity, but her life and art have been reexamined by scholars in the 20th century, and she is now regarded as one of the most progressive and expressive painters of her generation.

An exhibition dedicated to her work was due to be held at the National Gallery in London in 2020, but was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about Artemisia Gentileschi.