Portrait of Artemisia Gentileschi, one of the most accomplished painters of the 17th century

Although male names are usually associated with great works of art, several female figures have also attracted attention. They are often left out of lists featuring famous artists. This was especially true of Artemisia Gentileschi. However, he was one of the most accomplished painters of the 17th century. She was an ardent supporter of gender equality and condemned all forms of violence against women. Discover the portrait of Artemisia Gentileschi, this little-known figure of Baroque art.

Artemisia Gentileschi, feminist artist

Artemisia Gentileschi He was born on July 8, 1593 in Rome. Since her father was a prominent artist, Artemisia Gentileschi immersed herself in the world of art from an early age. Unfortunately for the Baroque era, Caravaggio was eclipsed in favor. His masterpieces have been recognized over time.

Artemisia Gentileschi generally emphasized the female figure. She was an ardent supporter of gender equality and condemned all forms of violence against women. Gentileschi’s paintings generally reflected his experience. She was the first woman to enter the art academy in Florence.

The most important works

It is difficult to choose the best works of Gentileschi, because there are many. However, we can refer Susanna and the Elders (1610). He painted this artwork when he was 17 years old. The painting depicts a biblical scene of a married Hebrew woman being raped by two men.

With a deep color palette and skillful use of light, Gentileschi renders the female anatomy very realistically, which would later become one of the hallmarks of his work. He found his inspiration in mythology, the Bible and allegorical tales.

Susanna and the Elders

we can cite the example of the painting Lucretia (1625). The painting tells the story of Lucretion (also Lucretius), a noble lady who chooses to commit suicide after being molested by Sextus Tarquinius, son of Tarquin the Superb. Gentileschi condemned the consequences of sexual harassment suffered by the fairer sex. The artist painted the moment when Lucretia decided to kill herself, not the suicide itself, as other artists did on the same subject.

Gentileschi emphasizes the alternation between light and dark. Commentaries describe Lucretia as a “strong heroine” who is sure of her beliefs.


On his desk Self-portrait as an allegory of painting, Gentileschi emphasizes his own personality rather than drawing inspiration from mythology or the Bible. The artist reveals her feminist views in this creative approach. This work is a unique painting and is the most famous of his self-portraits.

Self-portrait as an allegory of painting

The Rape of Artemisia Gentileschi

Artemisia Gentileschi was raped at the age of 17 by her father’s colleague Agostino Tassi. He turned this pain into a source of inspiration. Judith beheads Holofernes it was the artist’s form of revenge. The painting refers to the Old Testament, where a widow and her servant decapitate a man, and one feels the artist’s sense of revenge through the power of beheading.

In 1614, Gentileschi produced a second copy of the book Judith beheads Holofernes. He becomes increasingly skilled in bright color palettes and sharp contrasts between light and dark. The painting will characterize his later works.

Judith beheads Holofernes

On the picture, Judith and her maid, Gentileschi captures the moment before the assassination of Holofernes. The piece captures the moment of the killer’s control as he places his severed head in a bag. As in his previous painting, Holofernes depicts the aggressive Tassi. Gentileschi has been widely praised for his treatment of light and shadow. He now excels in his field: the Baroque movement.

Judith and her maid

The result

Through all these works, Gentileschi demonstrates not only his talent for representing the female anatomy, but also that the dramas he experienced were the source of inspiration that allowed him to excel in depicting tragic subjects. In a male-dominated world, the artist knew how to apply herself and celebrate history by presenting biblical themes or tragedies. Gentileschi died about 1656 in Naples.

Artemisia Gentileschi

Gentileschi was a true pioneer of the baroque movement, enjoying painting women through impressive works. And you, which work of Artemisia Gentileschi influenced you the most?

Here to go further 10 female artists who had a major impact on art history.

Posted in Art

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *