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Artemisia Gentileschi ( 7/8/1593 - c.1653 )  Category ( Artists ) [suggest a correction]
 

Artemisia GentileschiBorn in Rome at the height of the Italian Renaissance, Artemisia Gentileschi was the first child of the painter Orazio Gentileschi, who was of the school of Caravaggio. She is considered one of the best painters of the Baroque era and was the first female member of the Accademia di Arte del Disegno in Florence. Artemisia grew up in and around her father's studio, and was not only keenly interested in art, she very early displayed a talent that far surpassed her younger brothers. Artemisia was born at a time when the painter's trade and art was dominated by men. Fortunately she had a father who recognized her talent and encouraged her to draw, mix colors, and paint. Her style, like her father's, is reminiscent of Caravaggio, though she clearly put her own distinct stamp upon her work.

When Artemisia was only seventeen she produced her first major work, Susanna and the Elders. In 1612 she applied to the professional academies of art in Rome and other cities in Italy. She was denied entry since she was a woman. Despite this, she was determined to continue her study, and her father hired Agostino Tassi to tutor her privately. At some point during her tutelage, Tassi raped Artemisia. He promised to marry her but then changed his mind. At that point Artemisia's father reported the crime to the authorities.

The trial lasted seven months and was infamous due to Artemisia being forced to undergo a gynecological examination. She was also tortured by having strips of leather tightened around her fingers. Tassi was found guilty and imprisoned for one year. Following the trial, Artemisia's work took on a decidedly violent and vengeful tone. One of her most famous paintings is Judith beheading Holofernes (1612-13). It is often interpreted as an expression of Artemisia's revenge. Many of her works receive the same interpretation, but one school of thought suggests that she may well have continued the theme as a way to financially benefit from her notoriety.

One month after the trial, Orazio arranged a marriage for Artemisia to Pierantonio Stiattesi, a Florentine artist of little note. The marriage was arranged as a way to restore Artemisia's honor. Her time in Florence was successful and productive and she made a number of connections and friendships with the art elite of Florence, including Michelangeo's nephew. Eventually, due to financial difficulties, she returned to Rome in 1621, accompanied by her two daughters. She tried to teach her daughters the art of painting, but neither expressed interest or displayed serious talent. Later she lived and worked in Naples and in England. Research suggests that she had returned to Naples by 1649, and that she was still accepting commissions in 1654. It is not known when and where she died, though she might have perished in a plague that swept Naples in 1656, killing a number of Neapolitan artists.

Image: Self-portrait (1630s, Royal Collection, London).


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Title :Biography
Description : Biography of GENTILESCHI, Artemisia (b. 1593, Roma, d. 1651, Napoli) in the Web Gallery of Art, a searchable image collection and database of European painting and sculpture (1100-1850)
 
 
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