The life and career of Italian
17th-century Baroque artist and feminist pioneer Artemisia
Gentileschi, the first woman to be admitted to an art academy
and whose fiercest work is imbued with the rage she felt after
being raped by one of her artist father's friends, is on show at
Genoa's Doge's Palace (Palazzo Ducale) until April 1 next year.
The show, titled 'Artemisia Gentileschi, Courage and Passion', features 50 masterpieces gathered from Europe and the United States charting the feminist icon's progression from her early Caravaggio-esque works to her later paintings which are some of the highest expressions of the Italian Barogue.
"The common thread is, without doubt, the life and career of an exceptional woman who like all the women of her time had difficulty becoming a professional," says curator Costantino D'Orazio.
"Aremisia, the daughter of Orazio Gentileschi, starts learning the art of painting at home but then, struck by violence, she increases still more the difficulty of becoming a public figure.
"She will succeed purely thanks to her talent which will,lead her to work for the Medicis, for the King of England, becoming an international artist in the 40 years of her career.
"We recount these years trying to focus on the relationship with her father, with Genoese artists and, above all, with Caravaggio, who is her protective deity and guru".
Artemisia Lomi or Artemisia Gentileschi (8 July 1593 - c. 1656) is considered among the most accomplished seventeenth-century artists, initially working in the style of Caravaggio.
She was producing professional work by the age of 15.
In an era when women had few opportunities to pursue artistic training or work as professional artists, Gentileschi was the first woman to become a member of the Accademia di Arte del Disegno in Florence and she had an international clientele.
Many of Gentileschi's paintings feature women from myths, allegories, and the Bible, including victims, suicides, and warriors.
Some of her best known subjects are Susanna and the Elders (particularly the 1610 version in Pommersfelden), Judith Slaying Holofernes (her 1614-1620 version is in the Uffizi gallery), and Judith and Her Maidservant (her version of 1625 is in the Detroit Institute of Arts).
Gentileschi was known for being able to depict the female figure with great naturalism and for her skill in handling colour to express dimension and drama.
Her achievements as an artist were long overshadowed by the story of Agostino Tassi raping her when she was a young woman and Gentileschi being tortured to give evidence during his trial.
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