Artemisia Lomi Gentileschi was born in Rome on July 8, in 1593.

Her father was the Tuscan master painter Orazio Gentileschi. As well as her brothers, Artemisia received her first artistic lessons in the father’s workshop.
Being a girl she was not accepted into any painting academy. Her father and his colleague (Agostino Tassi) give her further lessons. This Agostino Tassi not only taught her painting but raped her ,then promised to marry her, then reneged on his promise. When that became public Tassi was sent to jail for a year. But during the seven-month trial, Artemisia was tortured to ensure that she wasn’t lying about any of her claims.

Athough Artemisia’s reputation was restored by the trial, after one year Tassi went back to work for Orazio. Perhaps because of the great injustice she had endured, Artemisia’s paintings began to exhibit an emotional power that still stands out from those of her contemporaries. 

Her most famous piece, Judith Slaying Holofernes  is notable for its depiction of women in physical power and superiority over the man. There is a sense of violence and struggle in this painting and you can see how Judith is using physical strength to overpower Holofernes. Especially looking at this scene in comparison a Caravaggio of the same situation you can see the difference in how Judith is portrayed.

The rage she must have felt after being tortured, physically and emotionally, during the rape trial years before came to life in her paintings. Women plotted revenge and carried it out, sometimes even through their own self-inflicted deaths. The women in her portraits were made heroines as the lifeless bodies of the men who hurt them lay drawn and painted in rich colors and vibrant strokes. 

Now Artemisia is considered an example of feminism in art and become
#MeToo Symbol. Last year a painting by her was sold for Over $2 Million.

The painting, which had never been publicly exhibited before, went to an Australian collection for €1.88 million ($2 million), the latest in a recent string of high prices for Gentileschi’s work. But her growing market should come as no surprise to those familiar with her oeuvre.

“It’s important to understand that Artemisia Gentileschi was one of the few female artists who actually made a living out of painting,” said Mark MacDonnell, an Old Master specialist at Dorotheum: She was independent, she was successful, she was in demand—and that was very unusual for that time, and has made her very much a symbol of modernity.

In italiano (Livello B2)

Guarda il video e rispondi alle domande.

  1. Chi finanziò Artemisia per “L’allegoria dell’inclinazione”?
  2. Che cosa significa provvigione?
  3. Le sembianze delle figure femminili di Artemisia a chi si ispiravano?
  4. I modelli di Artemisia erano naturalistici o idealistici?
  5. “La Madonna col bambino” a quale altro dipinto viene spesso associato?
  6. Cosa successe nel 1993 al dipinto “Santa Caterina d’Alessandria”?
  7. “Giuditta e Oloferne” è un episodio biblico molto caro a Artemisia, cosa racconta?
  8. Per quale motivo questo lavoro fu, in passato, criticato?
  9. Che qualità avevano i colori usati da Giuditta?
  10. Per quale motivo “La conversione della Maddalena” è considerata una delle migliori opere dell’artista.
Artemisia Gentileschi / Артемизия Джентилески (1593-1653) – Conversione della Maddalena (Maria Maddalena penitente) / Преображение Марии Магдалины (Кающаяся Мария Магдалина) (1615-1616)