Artemisia Gentileschi

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Martyr self-portrait, ca.1615
Gentileschi's signature

Artemisia Gentileschi [ʤentileski] (*  8. July 1593 in Rome ; † after 31 January 1654 in Naples ) was an Italian painter of the Baroque . She is considered to be the most important painter of her era.


Gentileschi was the daughter of the painter Orazio Gentileschi , who was then living in Rome, and the Prudentia Montone. Due to the death of her mother in 1605, she became a half-orphan . Artemisia often stood as a model for her father, who recognized her talent early on and taught her painting .

To learn the perspective, her father probably sent her to his fellow painter and friend Agostino Tassi , who raped Artemisia. With a promise of marriage (at that time it was socially impossible for a woman not to be married to a man with whom she had sexual contact) he extorted her silence, but he did not marry her - Tassi was probably already married. As a result, Orazio filed a lawsuit against Tassi in May 1612, during which Artemisia was tortured with a thumbscrew-like device to check her testimony and also subjected to a degrading gynecological examination to prove that she was not a prostitute . Tassi wanted to get out of the affair with this accusation; however, he was eventually sentenced to eight months in prison, including for stealing pictures. Despite Tassi's conviction and Artemisias immediately following marriage to the Florentine painter Pietro Antonio di Vicenzo Stiattesi, her good reputation could not be fully restored, which is why she moved to Florence . Her daughter Palmira was born there in 1620. Artemisia was given the honor of being the first woman to be accepted into the local Accademia dell'Arte del Disegno in 1616 . As early as 1615 she received her first major commission from Michelangelo Buonarroti the Younger , a great-nephew of Michelangelo .

Artemisia soon cultivated friendly relationships with painters, poets and other illustrious personalities, such as Cristofano Allori and Galileo Galilei . She became very well known and made a number of works for the Medici , with particular support from the Grand Duke of Tuscany , Cosimo II . In doing so, she also developed her own personal style, which no longer reminded of her father. Around 1620 she made her most famous picture Judith beheaded Holofernes . Tintoretto , Caravaggio , Casa Coppi and Adam Elsheimer also painted this motif . Judith interprets her version as a cold-blooded murderer and stands out due to the extremely realistic representation. Gentileschi dealt with the biblical story several times: The first two paintings were made as early as 1612/13, another around 1625.

In 1623 she was so famous that she was able to return to Rome with her two daughters, where she had several clients, including Cardinal Francesco Barberini , the nephew of Pope Urban VIII , and the Commendatore Cassiano dal Pozzo . In 1630 Artemisia went to Naples , which was then one of the most important cities in Europe and three times the size of Rome. She ran her own workshop there and received higher fees than her male colleagues. In 1635 she received an invitation to London to the court of King Charles I , where her father was now a court painter. However, she probably did not accept this invitation until 1637 and possibly supported the already sick father Orazio with the design of the ceiling painting in the Queen's House in Greenwich . The following year her father died in England.

She returned to Naples and was particularly encouraged by the patron Don Antonio Ruffo of Messina. At this point, the style of her painting also changed. The last years of her life were marked by health and financial difficulties. Letters from 1648 to 1650 to their client Ruffo prove their burdens. She died in Naples around 1652/53.


Gentileschi self-portrait, 1638–39

Artemisia Gentileschi was strongly influenced, especially in her early work, by her father, who was also her teacher, and adopted his love for precision in details and baroque pathos . Like her father, she was strongly influenced by Adam Elsheimer and Caravaggio , both of whom were personally acquainted with the Gentileschi. Orazio and Artemisia Gentileschi can be regarded as important representatives of the painting style Caravaggism , named after Caravaggio , which impressed with its realistic representation and dramatic lighting effects.

When she was married in 1612 and moved to Florence, she further developed her painting style and broke away from that of her father. Her pictures became even more lively and emotional. She also developed Caravaggism further by making the colors shine even brighter and brighter. Their characteristic colors are brown and ocher tones, bright red and strong blue as well as shades in orange tones. Typical of them are also precisely painted folds and the high materiality of the clothes.

However, both daughter and father were able to adapt their style to the respective artistic landscapes in which they were active. And just as Orazio adapted to the taste of the English court in his late work in England, Artemisia adopted a Florentine style of painting in Florence and a Neapolitan style in Naples. In her late work, she also changed her conception of femininity and approached the Bolognese painting style, which again demanded the idealized exaggeration of the human being. Their figures became more delicate, the female figures lost activity and strength.

It is known that in later times she studied nude models for her compositions, but in many of her pictures her own facial features and body shapes appear, for example in the self-portrait as an allegory of painting .

It is unusual that Artemisia was active in a professional field that was particularly dominated by men at the time and had her own workshop with male employees. Furthermore, unlike the few other female painters of her time known by name, she did not limit herself to genres typical of women at the time - such as portrait painting , flower and fruit still life , miniature painting , landscape painting  - but chose what was regarded as the finest genre of painting at the time and history painting, usually reserved for male painters, as well as mythological and biblical subjects, which she implemented in large formats. The protagonists of her pictures are often female heroines, for example Judith or Lucretia .

Artemisia's pictures show women of unusual charisma, whose poses express psychological rather than physical drama. Your female characters are courageous, determined, energetic and show above all the feelings of fear, powerlessness and distress.


Although she was very famous during her lifetime, she was forgotten after her death. It wasn't until the 1960s - in the wake of feminist movements - that people became aware of them again.

The feminist artist Judy Chicago dedicated one of the 39 place settings at the table to her in her work The Dinner Party .

“Two more women painters should be mentioned, who did honor to the fatherland. One was Marietta Robusti , the daughter of Tintoretto […] Artemisia Gentileschi was born in the year she died. She developed under the direction of Guidi Reni and achieved great fame during her life, especially for her excellent portraits. She lived in Naples, then in England, where she also died and left valuable works. But there are also paintings of her in the Pitti Palace and in the Museum of Naples . In this museum - significant enough - a room is adorned with four classic paintings by four different painters: by Artemisia Gentileschi, Elisabetta Sirani , Sofonisba Anguissola and Lavinia Fontana . "

- Report in the Wiener Hausfrauen-Zeitung from November 16, 1902

Catalog of works (selection)

The paintings by Artemisia Gentileschi were cataloged by Raymond Ward Bissell in 1999 under the title Artemisia Gentileschi and the Authority of Art: Critical Reading and Catalog Raisonné . The 50 or so works of art have since been provided with catalog numbers [WB ...]. Paintings that no longer exist are marked with the prefix "L-". Paintings that are not clearly created by Artemisia are marked with the prefix "X-".

WB image title year Size / material Exhibition / collection / owner Remarks
1 Madonna con bambino Artemisia.jpg Madonna and Child 1609-1610 118 × 86 cm,
oil on canvas
Florence , Palazzo Pitti , Galleria Palatina
2 Susanna and the Elders (1610), Artemisia Gentileschi.jpg Susanna and the elders 1610 170 × 121 cm,
oil on canvas
Pommersfelden , Weißenstein Castle , Schönborn art collection
3 Lucretia by Artemisia Gentileschi.jpg Lucretia around 1611 54 × 51 cm,
oil on canvas
Genoa , Palazzo Cattaneo-Adorno
4th Gentileschi Artemisia Judith Beheading Holofernes Naples.jpg Judith beheads Holofernes around 1612 162 × 126 cm,
oil on canvas
Naples , Museo di Capodimonte
5 Gentileschi judith1.jpg Judith with her maid 1612-1614 114 × 93.5 cm,
oil on canvas
Florence , Palazzo Pitti , Galleria Palatina
6th Artemisia Gentileschi - St Catherine of Alexandria - WGA8560.jpg Saint Catherine of Alexandria around 1614-1615 77 × 63 cm,
oil on canvas
Florence , Uffizi Gallery
X-6 Artemisia Gentileschi Cleopatra2.jpg Cleopatra around 1611-1612 118 × 181 cm,
oil on canvas
Milan , Amedeo Morandotti collection possibly painted by or with Orazio Gentileschi
7th Artemisia Gentileschi Selfportrait Martyr.jpg (Self-portrait as) martyr around 1615 32 × 24.5 cm,
oil on panel
New York , Newhouse Galleries
X-7 Artemisia Gentileschi - Danaë.jpg Danae around 1611-1612 41.3 × 52.7 cm,
oil on copper
St. Louis , The Saint Louis Art Museum possibly painted by Orazio Gentileschi
8th A Gentileschi Allegoria dell'inclinazione.jpg The natural talent around 1615-1616 152 × 61 cm,
oil on canvas
Florence , Casa Buonarroti
9 Artemisia Gentileschi Mary Magdalene3.jpg The repentant Magdalena around 1615-1616 65.7 × 50.8 cm,
oil on canvas
Los Angeles , Marc A. Seidner Collection
10 Artemisia Gentileschi Mary Magdalene Pitti.jpg Conversion of Magdalena
( Repentant Magdalena )
around 1617-1620 146.5 × 108 cm,
oil on canvas
Florence , Palazzo Pitti , Galleria Palatina
11 Giaele e Sisara.JPG Jaël and Sisera 1620 86 × 125 cm,
oil on canvas
Budapest , Szépművészeti Múzeum
X-11 Joseph and Potiphar's Wife by Artemisia Gentileschi.jpg Joseph and the wife of Potiphar around 1622–1623 231.8 × 194.9 cm,
oil on canvas
Cambridge , Massachusetts , Fogg Art Museum possibly painted by Paolo Finoglia
12 Artemisia Gentileschi - Giuditta decapita Oloferne - Google Art Project.jpg Judith and Holofernes 1614-1620 199 × 162.5 cm,
oil on canvas
Florence , Uffizi Gallery
13 Artemisia Gentileschi Condottiero Bologna.jpg Portrait of a Gonfaloniere 1622 208 × 128 cm,
oil on canvas
Bologna , Palazzo D'Accursio, Collezioni Comunali d'Arte
14th Artemisia Gentileschi Judith Maidservant DIA.jpg Judith with her maid around 1623-1625 184 × 141.6 cm,
oil on canvas
Detroit , Institute of Arts
L-14 Christ blesses the children lost
15th Aurora-Gentileschi.jpg Aurora around 1625–1627 218 × 146 cm,
oil on canvas
Rome , private property
16 Artemisia Gentileschi Mary Magdalene2.jpg The repentant Magdalena around 1621-1622 122 × 96 cm,
oil on canvas
Seville , cathedral
17th Artemisia Gentileschi - Mary Magalene as Melancholy 1621-22.JPG The repentant Magdalena around 1621-1622 136.5 × 100 cm,
oil on canvas
Mexico City , Museo Soumaya
L-17 Cupid and Psyche around 1624 lost
X-17 Lucretia by Artemisia Gentileschi2.jpg Lucretia 1642-1643 206 × 182 cm,
oil on canvas
Naples , Palazzo Reale
18th Artemisia Gentileschi - Sleeping Venus.JPG Venus and Cupid ( Sleeping Venus ) around 1625–1627 94 × 144 cm,
oil on canvas
Richmond , Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
X-19 Madonna-and-child-Gentileschi.jpg Madonna and Child around 1610 116.5 × 86.5 cm,
oil on canvas
Rome , Palazzo Spada
L-20 David with his harp lost
21st Maddalena penitente Artemisia.jpg The repentant Magdalena around 1627-1629 100 × 73 cm,
oil on canvas
Sorrento , Museo Correale di Terranova
22nd Artemisia Gentileschi Cleopatra3.jpg Cleopatra around 1627-1629 117 × 175.5 cm,
oil on canvas
Rome , private property
L-22 David with the head of Goliath 1631 lost
24 Annunciation to maria.jpg Annunciation to Mary 1630 257 × 179 cm,
oil on canvas
Naples , Museo di Capodimonte
X-25 Artemisia Gentileschi - 'Saint Catherine of Alexandria', oil on canvas painting, c.  1620, El Paso Museum of Art.jpg Saint Catherine of Alexandria around 1620 Oil on canvas El Paso , Texas , Museum of Art, The Kress Collection painted with Orazio Gentileschi
27 Gentileschi, Artemisia - Clio - 1632.jpg Klio, Muse of History ( The Glory ) 1632 127.6 × 97.2 cm,
oil on canvas
New York , privately owned
L-27 Diana in the bath with Aktaion around 1649-1650 lost
28 Esther-before-ahasuerus.jpg Esther before Ashaver around 1630 208.3 × 273.7 cm,
oil on canvas
New York , Metropolitan Museum of Art
X-28 Artemisia Gentileschi - St Cecilia Playing a Lute - WGA08561.jpg Lute player / Saint Cecilia around 1610-1612 108 × 78.5 cm,
oil on canvas
Rome , Palazzo Spada
30th Corisca and the Satyr by Artemisia Gentileschi.jpg Corisca and the satyr around 1633-1635 155 × 210 cm,
oil on canvas
Naples , private property
31 Venus in an embrace with Cupid around 1634 121 × 160 cm,
oil on canvas
Kreuzlingen , Heinz Kisters collection
32 Nacimiento de San Juan Bautista (Artemisia Gentileschi) .jpg The birth of John the Baptist 1635 184 × 258 cm,
oil on canvas
Madrid , Prado
33a Artemisia gentileschi, i santi procolo e nicea, 1631 ca..JPG Saint Proculus and his mother Nicea around 1635 300 × 180 cm,
oil on canvas
Naples , Museo Nazionale di San Martino
33b The Martyrdom of St Januarius in the Amphitheater at Pozzuoli.jpg St. Januarius with his companions in the amphitheater around 1635 308 × 200 cm,
oil on canvas
Naples , Museo Nazionale di San Martino
33c Adoration of the Magi by Artemisia Gentileschi.jpg Adoration of the Magi around 1635 308 × 205 cm,
oil on canvas
Naples , Museo Nazionale di San Martino
35 Samson and delilah.jpg Samson and Delilah around 1635 (original),
around 1640 (copy)
Oil on canvas Naples , Museo di Capodimonte , Collection of the Banco di Napoli (copy)
36 Artemisia Gentileschi - Minerva - WGA8568.jpg Minerva ( Sapienza ) around 1615 131 × 103 cm,
oil on canvas
Florence , Procura Generale della Repubblica
37 David and Bathsheba by Artemisia Gentileschi.jpg Bathsheba in the bath around 1636 265 × 210 cm,
oil on canvas
Columbus , Ohio , Museum of Art painted together with other artists
39 Gentileschi, Artemisia - Lot and his Daughters - 1635-1638.jpg Lot and his daughters around 1636–1637 230.5 × 183 cm,
oil on canvas
Toledo , Ohio , Museum of Art
L-39 Hercules 1620 lost
40 Artemisia Gentileschi - Bathsheba at Her Bath (ca.1637-1638) .jpg Bathsheba in the bath around 1637-1638 204.5 × 155.5 cm,
oil on canvas
Halle , private property
41 Allegory of Peace and the Arts under the English Crown Artemisia Gentileschi.jpg Allegory of Peace and the Arts under the Rule of the English King 1636-1639 892 × 1070 cm,
oil on canvas
London , Marlborough House Ceiling painting, painted together with Orazio Gentileschi
42 Self-portrait as the Allegory of Painting by Artemisia Gentileschi.jpg Allegory of Painting
Self-Portrait as La Pittura
around 1638–1639 96.5 × 73.7 cm,
oil on canvas
London , Kensington Palace , The Royal Collection
X-42 Artemisa Susanna 1622.jpg Susanna and the elders 1622 161.5 × 123 cm,
oil on canvas
Stamford , England , The Burghley House Collection possibly not painted by Artemisia
45 Bathsheba at Her Bath by Artemisia Gentileschi ca.1640-1645 (Vienna) .jpg Bathsheba in the bath around 1640 225 × 226 cm,
oil on canvas
Vienna , Alexander Haas Collection
46 Artemisia Gentileschi - Bathsheba at Her Bath (ca.1640-1645) .jpg Bathsheba in the bath around 1640-1645 288 × 228 cm,
oil on canvas
Rome , private property
47 Judith and her maid with the Head of Holofernes by Artemisia Gentileschi ca. 1645-1650.jpg Judith and her maid around 1640-1645 235 × 172 cm,
oil on canvas
Cannes , Musee de la Castre
48a Artemisia Gentileschi - Bathsheba - WGA08558.jpg Bathsheba in the bath around 1645-1650 258 × 218 cm,
oil on canvas
Potsdam , New Palace , Upper Gallery
48b Gentileschi-Lucrezia-Potsdam.jpg Tarquinius and Lucretia around 1645-1650 261 × 226 cm,
oil on canvas
Potsdam , New Palace , Upper Gallery
48c Judith and her maid Abra with the Head of Holofernes by Artemisia Gentileschi ca. 1645-1650.jpg Judith and her maid Abra with the head of Holofernes around 1645-1650 272 × 221 cm,
oil on canvas
Naples , Museo di Capodimonte
49 The Triumph of Galatea by Bernardo Cavallino or Artemisia Gentileschi ca.1650.jpg The triumph of Galatea around 1650 152.1 × 205.1 cm,
oil on canvas
New York , Washington , National Art Gallery probably painted together with Bernardo Cavallino
50 Susanna and the Elders.jpg Susanna and the two old people 1649 205 × 168 cm,
oil on canvas
Brno , Moravská galerie v Brně
51 La Vergine e il Bambino con il rosario Artemisia.jpg Madonna and Child (with rosary) 1650-1651 59.5 × 38.5 cm,
oil on copper, mounted on wood
El Escorial , Museo de Pintura
L-53 Bathsheba in the bath around 1650–1652 269 ​​× 222 cm,
oil on canvas
Destroyed in 1940
L-75 John the Baptist lost
L-104 Susanna and the two old people 1652 263 × 233 cm lost
without WB Artemisia Gentileschi - Self-Portrait as a Lute Player.JPG Self-portrait as a lute player around 1615-1617 65.5 × 50.2 cm,
oil on canvas
Hartford , Wadsworth Atheneum possibly not painted by Artemisia


  • Debra N. Mancoff: Women who changed art Prestel Munich 2012, ISBN 978-3-7913-4732-5 , pp. 8-10, 107-109.
  • Christiane Weidemann, Petra Larass, Melanie Klier: 50 women artists you should know. Prestel Munich 2008, ISBN 978-3-7913-3957-3 , pp. 22-25.
  • Christina Haberlik, Ira Diana Mazzoni : 50 classics - artists, painters, sculptors and photographers . Gerstenberg, Hildesheim 2002, ISBN 978-3-8067-2532-2 , pp. 23-29.
  • Keith Christiansen: Becoming Artemisia: Afterthoughts on the Gentileschi Exhibition. In: Metropolitan Museum Journal. 39, 2004, ISSN  0077-8958 , pp. 101-126.
  • Yvonne Dudziak-Kloe: Artemisia Gentileschis - Susanna in the bath. A picture investigation, library Schloß Weissenstein Pommersfelden catalog, 2005.
  • Mary D. Garrard : Artemisia Gentileschi. The Image of the Female Hero in Italian Baroque Art. Princeton University Press, Princeton NJ 1991, ISBN 0-691-04050-8 .
  • Mary D. Garrard: Artemisia Gentileschi around 1622. The shaping and reshaping of an artistic identity. University of California Press, Berkeley CA et al. a. 2001, ISBN 0-520-22426-4 . ( California Studies in the History of Art. Discovery Series 11)
  • Nadja Henle: The emancipated self-portrait. Music and eroticism in the works of Artemisia Gentileschi. VDM Verlag, Saarbrücken 2009, ISBN 978-3-639-12279-4 .
  • Judith W. Mann (Ed.): Artemisia Gentileschi. Taking stock. Brepols, Turnhout 2005, ISBN 2-503-51507-X .
  • Susanna Stolzenwald: Artemisia Gentileschi. Bonding and liberation in the life and work of a painter. Belser, Stuttgart et al. 1991, ISBN 3-7630-2073-X .
  • Dagmar Lutz: Artemisia Gentileschi: Life and Work . Belser, Stuttgart 2011, ISBN 978-3-7630-2586-2 .
  • Susan Vreeland: The Passion of Artemisia. Viking, New York NY 2002, ISBN 0-670-89449-4 .
  • R. Ward Bissell: Artemisia Gentileschi and the Authority of Art. Critical Reading and Catalog Raisonne . Pennsylvania State University Press, 1999, ISBN 0-271-01787-2 .
  • Christine Tauber: Judith, do your part. Act of revenge of the victim? Rational act of the heroine - and the painter: The supposed trauma of Artemisia Gentileschi as an example of feminist misinterpretation. In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung , Geisteswissenschaften, No. 195, Wednesday, August 23, 2017, p. N3.
  • Christa Wachenfeld (ed.): The rape of Artemisia . The process. With an essay by Roland Barthes. Translated from the Latin / Italian sources Gertraude Grassi. Freiburg (Breisgau): Kore, 1992. ISBN 3-926023-34-1 .
  • Susanna Partsch : Gentileschi, Artemisia . In: General Artist Lexicon . The visual artists of all times and peoples (AKL). Volume 51, Saur, Munich a. a. 2006, ISBN 3-598-22791-4 , pp. 402-406.

Film adaptations


  • The Prix ​​Artemisia for comics and graphic novels has been awarded in France since 2008 . It is awarded once a year to an outstanding work by an artist.
  • On July 8, 2020, Artemisia Gentileschi was honored by the search engine Google with a doodle for her 427th birthday.

Web links

Commons : Artemisia Gentileschi  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. [1]
  2. a b c d Volker Barth: Artemisia Gentileschi . In: PM History . January 2005, p. 81.
  3. Brooklyn Museum page on the artwork, accessed April 15, 2014.
  4. IB Münz: Important female artists from the XV. and XVI. Century . In: Wiener Hausfrauen-Zeitung . No. 46 , 1902, pp. 412 ( ANNO - AustriaN Newspapers Online [accessed July 22, 2020]).
  5. ^ Artemisia Gentileschi: An artistic Google doodle for the 427th birthday of the Italian baroque painter - GWB. In: GoogleWatchBlog. July 8, 2020, accessed on July 8, 2020 (German).