When I first saw paintings by Artemisia Gentileschi, I was instantly drawn to them. I simply just could not pick just one painting to focus on, so I picked two that told a story: “Judith Slaying Holofernes” painted from 1611-12 and “Judith and her Maidservant” painted from 1613-14. Both of these paintings were done in Italy.
When I saw these paintings, I couldn’t help but ask, “What man in her life screwed her over?”. She painted gruesome painting of Judith and her maid slaying off Holofernes head, and carrying his head off in a basket. But what in her mind made her want to paint this scary biblical story?
Artemisia Gentileschi was the daughter of a well-known Roman artist, Orazio Gentileschi. He taught Artemisia many techniques to painting. Later in her life she began studying under the care of her fathers close friend, Agostino Tassi. Shortly after Tassi was soon trialed for the rape if Artemisia. Could this be the cause of her hate-rid for men?
The rape was very traumatic for her, as it would be for anyone else, but she didn’t let that stop her. However, it did impact her paintings. After the rape and the trial, her paintings became very graphic. She used her art as a way to cope with the physical and emotional pain of this time in her life. I feel, as well as many others, that she painted herself as Juidth and Agostino Tassi as Holofernes. Artemisia’s art work are very powerful women taking revenge on male evildoer as the Assyrian general Holofernes.
In Artemisian Gentileschi’s time she became a very well known and famous artist. She was one of the first women artist to achieve recognition in the male-dominated world. She was the first woman to paint major historical and religious paintings.
The Council of Trent, should be very proud of her work. The council have a few rules: be realistic, be clear with what you are describing, and have true biblical stories from the Catholic Church. Artemisia did these things along with using many beautiful techniques in these three paintings. The light to dark lighting was provides a dramatic tone. She used realistic figures as her main subjects, and she uses rich colors to grab your attention.
I admire Artemisia for making a horrible situation turn into something that she can over come and learn from. I feel that everyone can learn from traumatic experiences in their life and they can gain something out of it like Artemisa did. Even though her art can be hate-rid for men, she has over come the male-dominated society and proved that she can become something of herself instead of a help-less rape victim. My overall like for her painting is much more than just a like in her are, but in herself as a person and the story she tells.