Female Artists Through Time: Artemsisa Gentileschi

Artemisia Gentileschi is considered one of the greatest painters of the Baroque period and is known for her paintings that depicted women from myths, legends, and the Bible who were victims and fighters. Her artwork commonly featured dynamic compositions, vibrant colors, and strong shadows and highlights.   

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Her father, Orazio Gentileschi, was a famous painter who trained all of his children in art, including Artemisia. By the age of nineteen, she was an incredibly talented artist that her father would brag about to his clients and friends. Though many people suspected that her father would paint for her, others claimed she was one of the best artists of the Baroque era. She was a member of the Academia di Arte del Disengo with clients such as the House of Medici and Charles I of England. 

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When she was a young woman, she was assaulted by an artist who was her private tutor. The trial that happened afterward very public, and eventually, Artemisia was primarily known for the scandal. Her testimony against her attacker was doubted, and she was subjected to torture to prove her testimony. Interestingly, the man who assaulted her was stopped from testifying in court for blatant lies and contradictions in his testimony. After the trial, to preserve her reputation, she married. Her impact as an artist was overshadowed for many centuries by the infamy of the trail. Because of this, Artemisia’s artwork went unrecognized as some of the best from the Baroque era.

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Artemisia was bold during her career, and as one of the few female artists who worked during the Baroque era, she had to be bold to compete with the male-dominated art community of the time. She was known for challenging the typical portrayal of women as meek, weak, and sensitive. Instead, she portrayed her heroines as rebellious, courageous, and strong-willed. Many historians say she gave a unique perspective as a woman in the male-dominated field and say she stood out as one of the greatest artists of the time.  

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