Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Women Artist - Women by Artemisia Gentileschi 1593–1652 including the murder of Holofernes by Judith

Artemisia Gentileschi (Italian artist, 1593–1652) Saint Cecilia c 1620

Artemisia Gentileschi (Italian artist, 1593–1652) Judith and Her Maid Servant with the Head of Holofernes c 1613

Artemisia Gentileschi 1593–1652 was an Italian Early Baroque painter, influenced by Caravaggio. She was the 1st female painter to become a member of the Accademia di Arte del Disegno in Florence.

Artemisia Gentileschi (Italian artist, 1593–1652) Jael and Sisera c 1620

Artemisia painted pictures of strong, suffering women from myth & the Bible - victims, suicides, warriors. She was especially drawn to the biblical stories of Judith beheading Holofernes story & to the sexual assault of Susanna.

Artemisia Gentileschi (Italian artist, 1593–1652) Susanna and the Elders c 1610

Artemisia was born in Rome, the eldest child of the Tuscan painter Orazio Gentileschi. She learned painting under her father, whose style took inspiration from Caravaggio during that period, but her approach to subject matter was realistic & natural, where Orazio's were idealized.

Artemisia Gentileschi (Italian artist, 1593–1652) Judith Beheading Holofernes c 1612

Susanna & the Elders was one of the earliest works of 17-year-old Artemisia, depicting the sexual assault of the two Elders as a traumatic event. Artemisia was herself assaulted sexually, although it was after the completion of this painting.

Artemisia Gentileschi (Italian artist, 1593–1652) Penitent Magdalene c 1631

In 1612, her father was working with Agostino Tassi to decorate the vaults of Casino della Rose inside the Pallavicini Rospigliosi Palace in Rome. Orazio hired the painter to tutor his daughter privately. During this tutelage, Tassi raped Artemisia. Another man, Cosimo Quorlis helped Tassi with the rape.

Artemisia Gentileschi (Italian artist, 1593–1652) Judith Beheading Holofernes c 1620

After the initial rape, Artemisia continued to have sexual relations with Tassi, believing that they were going to be married. However, Tassi reneged on his promise to marry Artemisia; after he claimed that he heard a rumour, that she was having an affair with another man.

Artemisia Gentileschi (Italian artist, 1593–1652) Susanna and the Elders c 1622

The livid father Orazio pressed charges against Tassi, when he learned that Artemisia & Tassi were not going to be married. Orazio also claimed that Tassi stole a painting of Judith from the Gentileschi household. The major issue of the trial was the initial rape of Artemisia. If Artemisia had not been a virgin before Tassi raped her, the Gentileschis would not have been able to press charges.

Artemisia Gentileschi (Italian artist, 1593–1652) Judith and Her Maidservant with the Head of Holofernes

In the ensuing 7-month trial, it was discovered that Tassi also had planned to murder his wife, had committed adultery with his sister-in-law, & had planned to steal some of Orazio’s paintings.

Artemisia Gentileschi (Italian artist, 1593–1652) Corsica and Satyr c 1640

During the trial, Artemisia was given a gynecological examination & was tortured using thumbscrews. But the young artist finally won the court case. At the end of the trial Tassi was sentenced to imprisonment for 1 year, although he never served the time.

Artemisia Gentileschi (Italian artist, 1593–1652) Mary Magdalen

One month after the trial, Orazio hastily arranged for his daughter to marry Pierantonio Stiattesi, a modest artist from Florence. Shortly afterwards the couple moved to Florence, where Artemisia received a commission for a painting at Casa Buonarroti & became a successful court painter, enjoying the patronage of the Medici family and Charles I.

Artemisia Gentileschi (Italian artist, 1593–1652) Salome with the Head of John the Baptist

While in Florence, Artemisia & Pierantonio had four sons & one daughter. But only the daughter, Prudenzia, survived to adulthood. During the 1620s she also worked in Genoa and Venice; but by 1630, she settled in Naples, where she remained for the rest of her life, except for a brief excursion to London.

Artemisia Gentileschi (Italian artist, 1593–1652) Mary Magdalen as Melancholy c 1622

Well over 35 extant paintings are attributed to Artemisia, but it is difficult to sort out which are actually hers. Her most powerful paintings are of vulnerable but strong women, and these are examples of those.

Artemisia Gentileschi (Italian artist, 1593–1652) Esther Before Ahasuerus c 1630

Artemisia Gentileschi (Italian artist, 1593–1652 St Catherine of Alexandria

Artemisia Gentileschi (Italian artist, 1593–1652) Susanna and the Elders c 1649

Artemisia Gentileschi (Italian artist, 1593–1652 Lucretia c 1642

Artemisia Gentileschi (Italian artist, 1593–1652) Lot and his Daughters c 1636