Artemisia Gentileschi, Rome 1593 - Post 1654 Naples?

  • Artemisia Gentileschi

    Rome 1593 - Post 1654 Naples?

The preeminent woman artist of the Italian Baroque, Artemisia Gentileschi is renowned today for her portrayals of strong women. Born in Rome in 1593, Artemisia was the only daughter of Orazio Gentileschi, one of Caravaggio’s earliest followers, who trained her as a painter. In 1611, Artemisia was raped by the painter Agostino Tassi, a collaborator of her father’s employed as her teacher. An infamous trial ensued, during which Artemisia was tortured using thumbscrews with the aim of verifying her testimony. Though Tassi was ultimately found guilty, Artemisia’s reputation suffered, and shortly after the trial, Orazio arranged her marriage to a painter of modest abilities, Pierantonio Stiattesi. The couple moved to Florence, where Artemisia’s career flourished. She secured the patronage of Grand Duke Cosimo II and established her reputation at the Medici court, painting striking works featuring violent subjects with female protagonists, often read by modern scholars in biographical terms. Artemisia and her husband separated in 1620, and she became the head of her own household, enjoying a freedom and independence known by few women of her age. She moved frequently for career opportunities and to accommodate patrons, taking her back to Rome from 1620 until 1626, to Venice between 1626 and 1630, and finally to Naples in 1630, where she remained for the rest of her life, running a large and successful workshop.