Self-Portrait as a Lute Player
by Artemisia Gentileschi
This person is associated with: Caravaggisti, Baroque
Italian Baroque painter, daughter of Orazio Gentileschi, under whom she trained and adopted the style of Caravaggio.
She worked in Rome at first, then moved to Florence in 1514, went back to Rome in 1621, left for Venice in 1627, and Naples in 1530. At the request of Charles I, she rejoined her father in London between 1638 and 1641, and finally went back to Naples, where she died.
Artemisia is famous for having been raped by her instructor, Agostino Tassi, who worked in her father's workshop. During the trial, she was tortured and Tassi was only condemned to one year of custody, which he never served. Her most famous work, Judith Slaying Holofernes, has been considered as a vengeance of this event, since Artemisia depicted herself as Judith, beheading Tassi as Holofernes with rage and an uncommon violence for a painting of this time. Several other of her works show strong women overpowering men. She also gave the female point of view of scenes usually done by male artists; for example, her famous Susannah and the Elders looks like a scene of harassment, whereas this topic was traditionally used to paint some flesh. Her oeuvre has consequently been studied a lot by feminists.
In 1616, she became the first woman to be admitted at the Academy of Florence, at only 23.