Artemisia Gentileschi  

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"Artemisia Gentileschi, an Italian artist of the seventeenth century, painted one or two pictures, considered admirable as works of art, of which the subjects are the most vicious and barbarous conceivable. I remember one of these in the gallery of Florence, which I looked at once, but once, and wished then, as I do now, for the privilege of burning it to ashes.". --Characteristics of women, moral, poetical and historical (1832) by Anna Brownell Jameson

"In the baroque era, women such as Artemisia Gentileschi created images of women as conscious beings rather than detached muses. One of the best examples of this novel expression is in Artemisia Gentileschi's Judith Slaying Holofernes, in which Judith is depicted as a strong woman determining her own destiny. While other artists, including Botticelli and even female artist Fede Galizia depicted the same scene with a passive Judith, Gentileschi's Judith appears to be an able actor in the task at hand."--Sholem Stein

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Artemisia Gentileschi (July 8 15931651/1653) was an Italian early Baroque painter, today considered one of the most accomplished painters in the generation influenced by Caravaggio (Caravaggisti). In an era when women painters were not easily accepted by the artistic community, she was the first female painter to become a member of the Accademia di Arte del Disegno in Florence.

She was one of the first female artists to paint historical and religious paintings, at a time when such heroic themes were considered beyond a woman's reach.

The 1997 film Artemisia, directed by Agnès Merlet and starring Valentina Cervi, was loosely based on this painter's life, but inaccurately portrayed the relationship between Tassi and Artemisia as a passionate affair rather than as rape. The Passion of Artemisia, recently published in Italy by Susan Vreeland, positions itself in the wave of the popularity of the feminist account of Artemisia Gentileschi.

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