The Passion of Artemisia Essay - Essay Prowess

The Passion of Artemisia Essay


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The Passion of Artemisia


Artemisia Gentileschi was a famous Italian painter who was born in 1593 to Orazio Gentileschi, a famous Mannerist painter. Artemisia is considered as a very important painter of the 17th Century Italian Baroque Painting. She was naturally gifted in both drawing and painting so much so that she was the foremost female artist to be accepted as a member at the Art Academy in Florence. During the 17th century Baroque painting renaissance period in Italy she was and still is considered as powerful religious art painter.


Artemisia was Orazio’s Gentileschi’s first child and only daughter who is also a renowned painter of the 17th century Italy. This exposed her to painting as an art while at her maternal father’s art studio and she proved to be more adept to art than her younger brothers. Her father was a devoted follower of the Caravaggio style which also influenced her artwork to exhibit heavy chiaroscuro and an aspect of dramatic tenebrous styles. It is worthy noting that her father was inclined to producing art with a rather idealized advancement while Artemisia was inclined to naturalism with a realistic approach in handling subjects.

It is reported that in 1610, Artemisia was sexually abused and raped by her art instructor by the name Agostino Tassi was tried for the criminal offense and found guilty. During the same year she reproduced her very first masterpiece, Susanna and the Elders which is said to have been produced after her traumatic rape experience. One of the versions of this painting does depict a sexual attack on the elders as a deeply traumatizing event. After the trial against her tutor, she produced the painting, Judith Beheading Holofernes which exhibited a violent intensity and considered as an artistic revenge for her previous ordeal.

Life after marriage

Artemisia was married off to Pierantonio Stiattesi, an artist from Florence and later the moved to the city of Florence. While in Florence, she was a court painter, a career in which she was quite successful under the sponsorship of the Medici family. During this period she also begat a daughter and four sons of which only the daughter survived. It was during this period that she was chosen as a member of the Art Academy in Florence as well as producing works of art which included Virgin and Child, St Cecilia playing the lute, Judith and Her Maidservant as well as The Penitent Mary Magdalene.

After experiencing problems with her creditors, she move back o her birth place, Rome during the same period in which her farther moved from the city to Genoa. It is not clear whether she did follow her father to Genoa or not but during this time she had her second daughter. At this time, the Caravaggio style was widely respected but it was difficult for her to land commissions due t the high competitiveness. She later moved to Venice and later to Naples in 1630 where it’s reported that she lived the rest of her active life while making short trips to and from London. Eight years later she worked with her father at King Charles court where her father was the official court painter. Her father later died unexpectedly leading her to move back to Naples.

In conclusion, she is considered as one of the most successful painters of the female gender leaving a colorful path to be followed by her successors. Heavily influenced by he father and the genius Caravaggio, her paintings depict a style which was highly realistic in accordance to the styles dominant in cities in which she produced her works.


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