5 Stunning Paintings By Underrated Female Artist Artemisia Gentileschi

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For the sake of convenience, art history’s significant movements are often linked to single, pioneering figures.

5 Stunning Paintings By Underrated Female Artist Artemisia Gentileschi

For the sake of convenience, art history’s significant movements are often linked to single, pioneering figures. Impressionism's success, for example, is usually credited to Claude Monet, while Salvador Dalí is often seen as the sole architect of Surrealism. Along with overly simplifying the complexity of those genres, though, this system of attribution is flawed, since female artists are rarely included in the running.


A prime example of an underappreciated female painter is Artemisia Gentileschi. Though she was born into an artistically accomplished family and even accepted into a prestigious art school, she's historically been overlooked in favor of Caravaggio, a contemporary painter attributed to spearheading the Baroque movement.


Fortunately, nowadays, more and more museums, art history books and catalogs, and other communicators of culture are starting to shine a light on this overshadowed figure—and the stories behind her most celebrated paintings.


5 Stunning Paintings By Underrated Female Artist Artemisia Gentileschi

“Self-portrait as a Female Martyr,” ca. 1615 (Photo: Wikimedia Commons Public Domain)


Here are five of Artemisia Gentileschi’s most powerful masterpieces.


5 Stunning Paintings By Underrated Female Artist Artemisia Gentileschi

“Susanna and the Elders,”c. 1610 (Photo: Wikimedia Commons Public Domain)


5 Stunning Paintings By Underrated Female Artist Artemisia Gentileschi

Judith Slaying Holofernes,” 1614-1620 (Photo: Wikimedia Commons Public Domain)


5 Stunning Paintings By Underrated Female Artist Artemisia Gentileschi

“Judith and Her Maidservant,” 1625 (Photo: Wikimedia Commons Public Domain)


Artemisia Gentileschi was born in Rome in 1593. With famours Tuscan painter Orazio Gentileschi as her father, Gentileschi was exposed to art at a young age.She worked with her father in his studio when she was a teenager, where she completed Susanna and the Elders, her earliest known artwork.


The artist’s longterm focus on female subjects was further shaped by something that occurred when she completed Susanna and the Elders. In 1610, her dad was collaborating with Agostino Tassi, a fellow Italian artist, on a project in Rome. During that time, Tassi raped the 17-year-old, prompting her dad to press charges. While Tassi was exiled for his behavior—that also included separate charges like theft and intent to murder—his sentencing was never carried out.


Gentileschi, though, sought her own form of revenge. In 1610, she painted Judith Slaying Holofernes, an artwork portraying an Old Testament story in which a widow and her maid overpower and behead—a threatening man. Given the timing of the work’s completion, many think Gentileschi channeled her own sexual assault when crafting the composition.


Gentileschi’s penchant for painting women wasn't limited to age-old bible stories and ancient tales. Sometimes, she found inspiration in a contemporary figure: herself.


In 1639, the artist completed her most celebrated self-portrayal, Self-Portrait as the Allegory of Painting. In the unique painting, Gentileschi imagines herself as an allegory—a creative approach that subtly incorporates her long-held feminist views.


5 Stunning Paintings By Underrated Female Artist Artemisia Gentileschi

“Lucretia,” 1625 (Photo: Wikimedia Commons Public Domain)


5 Stunning Paintings By Underrated Female Artist Artemisia Gentileschi

“Self-Portrait as the Allegory of Painting,” 1638-1639 (Photo: Wikimedia Commons Public Domain)

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Thinking Humanity: 5 Stunning Paintings By Underrated Female Artist Artemisia Gentileschi
5 Stunning Paintings By Underrated Female Artist Artemisia Gentileschi
For the sake of convenience, art history’s significant movements are often linked to single, pioneering figures.
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