Gentileschi, Artemisia

Gentileschi, Artemisia ärˌtāmēˈzhə jānˌtēlĕsˈkē [key], c.1597–c.1652, Tuscan painter, daughter and pupil of Orazio Gentileschi, b. Rome. She studied with her father's collaborator, Agostino Tassi, who was convicted of raping the teen-age Artemisia and later forced to marry her. She later divorced him, but enjoyed freedom through her status as a married woman. She has been portrayed as a strumpet, a feminist victim or heroine, and an independent woman of her era, and her life has been fictionalized in several novels and plays. In purely artistic terms, she achieved renown for her spirited execution, naturalistic mode of painting, and use of chiaroscuro in the style of Caravaggio, and during her life she achieved both success and fame. She usually painted large historical paintings, a format then normally used only by male painters, and used her own features in many female and male characters. In 1616 she became the first woman admitted to the Academy of Design in Florence. In the 1620s she moved to Venice; in 1630 she settled in Naples, where she secured several new patrons. About 1638 she visited England, where she was in great demand as a portraitist. Among her works are Judith and Holofernes (Uffizi); Mary Magdalen (Pitti Gall., Florence); Christ among the Doctors (N.Y. Historical Society); and a self-portrait (Hampton Court, England). She fell from favor after her death, but since the early 20th cent. has been the focus of recurring interest.

See studies by A. Banti (1988, 2004), M. D. Garrard (1989, 1993, 2001, 2020), R. W. Bissell (1999), K. Christiansen and J. W. Mann (2001), M. Bal, ed. (2005), J. W. Mann (2005), and J. M. Locker (2015).

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