By Joanne Natale Spigonardo
September 17, 2021
We all know the many great Italian masters of art. There are too numerous male painters to mention. However, the ones that automatically come to my mind are Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Botticelli, and Caravaggio.
Artemisia Gentileschi is one of the most famous women in the history of art. She was born in Rome in 1593 and worked along side of her father, Orazio Gentileschi, also a painter and student of Caravaggio. Her father was her mentor, and even though, her mother died when she was only 12, Artemisia had a gentle and strong role model in her father. Artemisia also studied the Baroque style of Caravaggio. Her style is known for its natural form and color. Her works come to life in a surreal and energetic burst of light.
Artemisia was raped by artist Agostino Tassi, who refused to marry her, but she was avenged in court where he was accused of the crime. Her life was one of repression, rage, and unfairness. Artemisia had a good father who encouraged her to study in Florence and she was soon married to a Florentine who supported her talent. Artemisia was the first woman to enroll in Accademia delle Arti del Disegno (the Academy of Arts and Drawing). She painted her first portrait entitled The spirit of Cesar in the Soul of a Woman at age 17. Her work often depicts myths where women are warriors facing battle. One of which is, Judith Slaying Holofernes. Her painting suggests the plight of women then and now. Her voice is telling us to fight suppression and use talent and intelligence as a weapon. Artemisia was also celebrated artist in the court of the de Medici family, that aided her popularity and success.
Artemisia paved the path for the many wonderful famous women artists in history. She died in Rome in 1652. She is a true treasure of Italy. Her story and talent gave inspiration to many women artists, for example, Angelica Kauffman (1741-1807), Elisabeth Louise Vigee le Brun (1755-1842), Mary Cassatt (1844-1926), Frida Kahlo (1907-1954), Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986), and many others that are too numerous to mention.
About the Author: Joanne Natale Spigonardo
Joanne has many years of experience in travel to Italy, Italian art, literature, film, history, wine, and cuisine. She is a lover of nature and beauty. She is an advocate for Italian immigrant women, and the author of White Widow, which is available on Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/White-Widow-Joanne-Natale-Spigonardo/dp/B085DT65DB. For more information about Joanne please visit her LinkedIn page: https://www.linkedin.com/in/joanne-spigonardo-b4824a9/.
4 thoughts on “A Hidden Treasure of Italy – Artist Artemisia Gentileschi”
Bravo! Really enjoyed this piece.
Sent from my iPhone
Thank you Neil – looking forward to your next blog about Italy
Girl Power! I had no idea there even were famous women painters in Italy since history talks so little of them. Thanks, Joanne.
What an interesting piece of history you have shared Joanne, thank you. It spurs my curiosity for sure.