- Self Portrait
Artemesia Gentelechi, one of my favorite artists, was the One of the few known Renaissance artists. SHe grew up in her father, Orazio Gentilechi’s studio in Rome, Italy. The eldest of his and Prudenzia di Ottovainio Montoni, she is considered the most talented. She painted her first major work when she was 17, Susanna and the Elders, a theme she would return to over time. Contemporaries accused her of letting her father help, despite the fact that all major artists of the time received help from assistants and students.
A little while after this work Artemisia was raped by fellow artist Agosto Tassi in 1612. A fate she apparently shared with his Sister-in-law and one of his wives, who disappeared. Once her father realized Tassi wasn’t going to marry Artemisia, a common practice then, he sued him for damages. Tassi was jailed for about two years.
- Judith and Helofrenes
Understandably, the attack influenced her work. The most common theme found is Judith and Halofrenes. (ex. on right)This is an old testament story about a female Judge(tribal leader) and one of the few named women in the Bible. According to the story, she beheads the General who was attacking her tribe. I can see the appeal. Another Theme is that of female solidarity, something she hadn’t received as her mother had died when she was young and the only other female in her life, Tuzia, ignored her cries for help when she was attacked.
After the trial Artemisia married another artist, Pierantonio Stiattesi, with whom she had four children. One of them, a daughter named Prudentia(after her grandma) became a painter as well. Despite motherhood and trauma, Artemisia kept painting.
- Susanna and the Elders
Her style was similar to the artist Caravaggio who created a style now known as Caravaggisti Baroque. This style is typified by dramatic lighting, like that of a stage. Her skill impressed both the Medici and the court of Charles the I. She was also the first woman accepted into the Academia delle Arti del Disegno in Florence, Italy. While in Florence she befriended many influential people. This included an affair with a nobleman, something her husband was surprisingly okay with.
In 1638 Artemesia and her father became court painters for Charles I. There the worked on the Queen’s House in Greenwich. A year later, her father had died. Artemesia finished her fathers work and returned home.
Sources : mostly Wikipedia and Athenium