|Who is it?||Painter|
|Birth Day||July 15, 2008|
|Birth Place||Rome, Italian|
|Age||12 YEARS OLD|
Artemisia Gentileschi was born Artemisia Gentileschi-Lomi in Rome on 8 July 1593, although her birth certificate from the Archivio di Stato indicated she was born in 1590, the eldest child of the Tuscan Painter Orazio Gentileschi and Prudentia Montone. Artemisia was introduced to painting in her father's workshop, showing much more talent than her brothers, who worked alongside her. She learned drawing, how to mix color, and how to paint. "By 1612, when she was not yet nineteen years old, her Father could boast of her extraordinary talents, claiming that in the profession of painting, which she had practiced for three years, she had no peer"
The first surviving work of the seventeen-year-old Artemisia was the Susanna and the Elders (1610, Schönborn collection in Pommersfelden). At the time some, influenced by the prevailing misconceptions, suspected that she was helped by her Father. The painting shows how Artemisia assimilated the realism of Caravaggio without being indifferent to the language of Annibale Carracci and the Bologna school. It is one of the few paintings on the theme of Susanna showing the sexual accosting by the two Elders as a traumatic event.
In 1611, her Father was working with Agostino Tassi to decorate the vaults of Casino delle Muse inside the Palazzo Pallavicini-Rospigliosi in Rome, so Orazio hired the Painter to tutor his daughter privately. During this tutelage, Tassi raped Artemisia. Another man, Cosimo Quorli, was also involved.
Notable works from this period include La Conversione della Maddalena (The Conversion of the Magdalene), Self-Portrait as a Lute Player (in the collection of the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art) and Giuditta con la sua ancella (Judith and her Maidservant), now in the Palazzo Pitti. Artemisia painted a second version of Judith beheading Holofernes, which now is housed in the Uffizi Gallery of Florence. The first, smaller Judith Beheading Holofernes (1612–13) is displayed in the Museo di Capodimonte, Naples. Despite her success, financial excesses borne by her for her husband led to problems with creditors, and she fell out with her husband. She returned without him to Rome in 1621.
While in Florence, Artemisia and Pierantonio had a daughter around 1618, Prudentia, but who was also known as Palmira, which has led some scholars to conclude erroneously that Artemisia had two children, not one. Prudentia was named after Artemisia's mother, who died when Artemisia was 12. It is noteworthy that her daughter was a Painter, trained by her mother, although nothing is known of her work.
Although the master had been dead over a decade, Caravaggio's style was still highly influential and converted many Painters to following his style (the so-called Caravaggisti), such as Carlo Saraceni (who returned to Venice 1620), Bartolomeo Manfredi, and Simon Vouet. She and Vouet would go on to have a professional relationship and would influence each other in terms of style and their learnings from Caravaggio's style. Painting styles in Rome during the early seventeenth century were diverse, however, demonstrating a more classic manner of the Bolognese disciples of the Carracci and the baroque style of Pietro da Cortona.
Despite her artistic reputation, her strong personality, and her numerous good relationships, however, Rome was not so lucrative as she hoped. Her style, tone of defiance, and strength relaxed. She painted less intense works; for instance, her second version of Susanna and the Elders (1622). The appreciation of her art was narrowed down to portraits and to her ability with biblical heroines. She did not receive any of the lucrative commissions for altarpieces. The absence of sufficient documentation makes it difficult to follow Artemisia's movements in this period. It is certain that between 1627 and as late as 1630, she moved to Venice, perhaps in search of richer commissions. Evidence for this is that verses and letters were composed in appreciation of her and her works in Venice.
It appears that Artemisia also was associated with the Academy of the Desiosi. She was celebrated with a portrait carrying the inscription "Pincturare miraculum invidendum facilius quam imitandum" (To paint a wonder is more easily envied than imitated). During the same period she became associated with Cassiano dal Pozzo, a humanist and a collector and lover of arts, while the visiting French Artist Pierre Dumonstier II produced a black and red chalk drawing of her right hand in 1625.
In 1630 Artemisia moved to Naples, a city rich with workshops and art lovers, in search of new and more lucrative job opportunities. The 18th-century biographer Bernardo de' Dominici speculated that Artemisia was already known in Naples before her arrival. She may have been invited to Naples by the Duke of Alcalá, Fernando Enriquez Afan de Ribera, who had three of her paintings: a Penitent Magdalene, Christ Blessing the Children, and David with a Harp. Many other artists, including Caravaggio, Annibale Carracci, and Simon Vouet had stayed in Naples for some time in their lives. At that time, Jusepe de Ribera, Massimo Stanzione, and Domenichino were working there, and later, Giovanni Lanfranco and many others would flock to the city. The Neapolitan debut of Artemisia is represented by the Annunciation in the Capodimonte Museum. She remained in Naples for the remainder of her career with the exceptions of a brief trip to London and some other journeys.
She appears in Eric Flint's Ring of Fire alternate history, being mentioned in 1634: The Galileo Affair (2004) and figuring prominently in 1635: The Dreeson Incident (2008).
In Florence, Artemisia appears to have enjoyed significant success. She was the first woman accepted into the Accademia delle Arti del Disegno (Academy of the Arts of Drawing). She maintained good relations with the most respected artists of her time, such as Cristofano Allori, and was able to garner the favors and the protection of influential people, starting with Cosimo II de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany and especially of the Grand Duchess, Christina of Lorraine. Her acquaintance with Galileo Galilei, evident from a letter she wrote to the scientist in 1635, appears to stem from her Florentine years.
In 1638 Artemisia joined her Father in London at the court of Charles I of England, where Orazio became court Painter and received the important job of decorating a ceiling allegory of Triumph of Peace and the Arts in the Queen's House, Greenwich built for Queen Henrietta Maria. Father and daughter were working together once again, although helping her Father probably was not her only reason for travelling to London: Charles I had invited her to his court, and it was not possible to refuse. Charles I was an enthusiastic collector, willing to incur criticism for his spending on art. The fame of Artemisia probably intrigued him, and it is not a coincidence that his collection included a painting of great suggestion, the Self-Portrait as the Allegory of Painting, which is the lead image of this article.
Orazio died suddenly in 1639. Artemisia had her own commissions to fulfill after her father's death, although there are no known works assignable with certainty to this period. It is known that Artemisia had already left England by 1642, when the English Civil War was just starting. Nothing much is known about her subsequent movements. Historians know that in 1649 she was in Naples again, corresponding with Don Antonio Ruffo of Sicily, who became her mentor during this second Neapolitan period. The last known letter to her mentor is dated 1650 and makes clear that she still was fully active.
Artemisia was once thought to have died in 1652/1653; however, recent evidence has shown that she was still accepting commissions in 1654, although she was increasingly dependent upon her assistant, Onofrio Palumbo.
Some have speculated that she died in the devastating plague that swept Naples in 1656 and virtually wiped out an entire generation of Neapolitan artists.
The first Writer who produced a novel around the figure of Artemisia might be George Eliot in Romola (1862–63), where some aspects of Gentileschi's story, while set in Florence in Gentileschi's time, are recognizable, but much embroidered. A later and clearer use of Gentileschi's story is by Anna Banti, wife of Roberto Longhi. Her first draft of the manuscript, dated 1944, was lost during the war. Three years later she started again with the book, to be entitled Artemisia, writing in a much different form. Banti's book is written in an "open diary" form, in which she maintains a dialogue with Artemisia, trying to understand why she finds her so fascinating.
The research paper "Gentileschi, padre e figlia" (1916) by Roberto Longhi, an important Italian critic, described Artemisia as "the only woman in Italy who ever knew about painting, coloring, drawing, and other fundamentals". Longhi also wrote of Judith Slaying Holofernes: "There are about fifty-seven works by Artemisia Gentileschi and 94% (forty-nine works) feature women as protagonists or equal to men". These include her works of Jael and Sisera, Judith and her Maidservant, and Esther. These characters intentionally lacked the stereotypical 'feminine' traits—sensitivity, timidness, and weakness—and were courageous, rebellious, and powerful personalities; such subjects are now grouped as the Power of Women. A nineteenth-century critic commented on Artemisia's Magdalene stating, "no one would have imagined that it was the work of a woman. The brush work was bold and certain, and there was no sign of timidness". In Ward Bissell's view, she was well aware of how women and female artists were viewed by men, explaining why her works in the beginning of her career were so bold and defiant.
Feminist interest in Artemisia Gentileschi was sparked in the 1970s when the feminist art Historian Linda Nochlin published an article titled "Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?" in which that question was dissected and analyzed. The article explored the definition of "great artists" and how oppressive institutions, not lack of talent, have prevented women from achieving the same level of recognition that men received in art and other fields. Nochlin said that studies on Artemisia and other female artists were "worth the effort" in "adding to our knowledge of women's achievement and of art history generally." According to the foreword by Douglas Druick in Eve Straussman-Pflanzer's Violence & Virtue: Artemisia’s Judith Slaying Holofernes, Nochlin’s article prompted scholars to make more of an attempt to "integrate women artists into the history of art and culture."
Gentileschi is one of the women represented in The Dinner Party, an installation artwork by Judy Chicago that was first exhibited in 1979.
Artemisia, and more specifically her painting Judith Beheading Holofernes, are referred to in Wendy Wasserstein's 1988 play, The Heidi Chronicles, where the main character, Heidi, lectures about it as part of her art history course on female Painters. At the end of the play, Heidi adopts a daughter she names Judy, which is at least a partial reference to the painting. Canadian Playwright Sally Clark wrote several stage plays based on the events leading up to and following the rape of Artemisia. Life Without Instruction was commissioned by Nightwood Theatre in 1988, and was developed during an Ontario Arts Council Playwright's Residency in 1989. It was workshopped in 1990 under the direction of Kate Lushington and dramaturged by Jackie Maxwell. Life Without Instruction premiered at Theatre Plus Toronto on August 2, 1991.
The film Artemisia (1997), by Agnès Merlet, tells the story of Artemisia's entry into being a professional Artist, her relationship with Tassi, and the trial. Merlet exonerates Tassi of rape, not only by depicting their sex as loving and consensual (which sparked controversy upon the film's release), but also by two ahistorical fabrications: Artemisia denies the rape under torture, while Tassi falsely confesses to rape to Artemisia's torment.
Feminist studies increased the interest in Artemisia Gentileschi, underlining her rape and subsequent mistreatment, and the expressive strength of her paintings of biblical heroines, in which the women are interpreted as willing to manifest their rebellion against their condition. In a research paper from the catalogue of the exhibition "Orazio e Artemisia Gentileschi" which took place in Rome in 2001 (and after in New York), Judith W. Mann critiques feminist opinion of Artemisia, finding that old stereotypes of Artemisia as sexually immoral have been replaced by new stereotypes established in feminist readings of Artemisia's paintings:
In 2002, Susan Vreeland published The Passion of Artemisia, a novel based loosely on her life.
In 2011, Francesco Solinas discovered of a collection of thirty-six letters, dating from about 1616 to 1620, that provide new insight into Gentileschi’s personal and financial life in Florence. Most unexpectedly, they show that she had a passionate love affair with a wealthy Florentine nobleman named Francesco Maria Maringhi. Curiously, her husband, Stiattesi, was well aware of their relationship, and maintained a correspondence with Maringhi on the back of Artemisia’s love letters. Nevertheless, he tolerated it, presumably because Maringhi was a powerful ally who provided the couple financial support. However, by 1620, rumors of the affair had begun to spread in the Florentine court, and this fact, combined with ongoing financial and legal problems, led them to resettle in Rome.
The most recent critics, starting from the difficult reconstruction of the entire catalogue of the Gentileschi, tried to give a less reductive reading of the career of Artemisia, placing it more accurately in the context of the different artistic environments in which the Painter actively participated. A reading such as this restores Artemisia as an Artist who fought with determination—using the weapon of personality and of the artistic qualities—against the prejudices expressed against women painters; being able to introduce herself productively in the circle of the most respected Painters of her time, embracing a series of pictorial genres that probably were more ample and varied than her paintings suggest.
The 2016 novel Maestra by L.S. Hilton has Artemisia as a central reference for the main character, and several of her paintings are commented on.
A 2018 young adult novel in verse, entitled Blood Water Paint and authored by Joy McCullough, focuses on Artemisia and her struggle during the trial, as well as her looking to Susannah and Judith for inspiration.
Artemisia is known for her portrayals of subjects from the Power of Women group, for Example her versions of Judith Slaying Holofernes. She is also known for the rape trial in which she was involved, which scholar Griselda Pollock said is now the "axis of interpretation of the artist’s work." Her fame, though great among art historians, is deemed by Pollock to be less due to her work and more to the sensationalism caused by the trial. Feminist literature tends to revolve around the event of Artemisia’s rape, largely portraying her as a traumatized but noble survivor whose work became characterized by sex and violence as a result of her experience. A literature review by Laura Benedetti, "Reconstructing Artemisia: Twentieth Century Images of a Woman Artist," concluded that Artemisia’s work is often interpreted according to the contemporary issues and personal biases of the authors. Feminist scholars, for Example, have elevated Artemisia to the status of feminist icon, which Benedetti attributed to Artemisia’s paintings of formidable women and her success as an Artist in a male-dominated field while also being a single mother. Elena Ciletti, author of Gran Macchina a Bellezza, wrote that "The stakes are very high in Artemisia’s case, especially for feminists, because we have invested in her so much of our quest for justice for women, historically and currently, intellectually and politically."