I’ve been waiting for this one all year! She is one of my favorite artists EVER. I even wrote my senior thesis on her. Her dad was friends with Caravaggio and she was the center of a rape trial that treated her as property. Sadly these things sometimes overshadow her artistic career. We’ll talk about it, but I want to focus on her ART and all the reasons it was better than her contemporaries. Are you ready?
[I totally tried to insert a fun gif here, but my site was being a jerk, so just imagine a little fanfare here.]
I’m talking about Artemisia Gentileschi! She was an Italian painter from the 17th century and a master of color and light. She painted strong female figures in a time when women were often portrayed as fragile and vulnerable.
Self-Portrait as the Allegory of Painting. 1638.
We have to tread carefully here though. A woman’s role in society at the time was very different than what it is now and we can’t go applying modern feminist principles to what was going on in Artemisia’s life. Still, we can absolutely appreciate the way she represented female figures from biblical stories and we will be comparing her versions to those of her male counterparts.
You’ll see a lot of contrast and single light source compositions in her work and guess what! That’s going to be our project for this month. We’ll focus on tenebrism (the use of light and dark) and how it impacts a composition.
My son once asked me if I could meet any artist, dead or alive, who would it be? It would have to be Artemisia Gentileschi.