Baroque and Beyond C. 1600–1850

Baroque Italy and France

Who was Artemisia Gentileschi?

Like other caravaggisti, or followers of Caravaggio, the work of female painter Artemisia Gentileschi (1593–c. 1652) is characterized by dramatic diagonals, naturalism, chiaroscuro (contrasts of dark and light), and powerful subject matter. She was arguably the most successful female artist of her day. She worked for the Duke of Tuscany and was the first female member of the Florentine Academy of Design. She is known for her paintings of the Old Testament story of Judith beheading Holofernes, a popular scene in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and often analyzed in relation to a rape she suffered at the hands of her tutor when she was seventeen years old. Male or female, Artemisia Gentileschi was one of the most skilled naturalist painters of the baroque period.


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