|Birth: ||Jul. 8, 1593|
The greatest female painter of the Baroque Era in Italy was born in Rome to artist Orazio Gentileschi, who taught her his art and craft. She was brutally raped when she was 18 by one of her father's colleagues, Agostino Tassi. When her father brought suit for assault, Artemisia was interrogated, even tortured, to ascertain her assailant's guilt. Her father appealed to the Grand Duchess of Tuscany to enforce the sentence, and later Artemisia entered into an arranged marriage with a Florentine, Pierantonio Stiattesi. The marriage continued unhappily for ten years, until Pierantonio abandoned her. They had four children, two boys and two girls. Artemisia trained both girls as artists. Although Artemisia had plenty of comissions, her husband squadered money on gambling and drinking. He left her deep in debt. The trauma of her rape and trial became apparent in the subject matter of her paintings. In a time when women painters were limited to portraiture, Artemisia was the first to paint major historical and religious scenarios. She was also the first female member of the Accademia del Disegno, which she joined in 1616. Her heroines are powerful women exacting vengeance on male evil doers, such as her gory portrayal of the death of the Assyrian general, Holofernes, in Judith Beheading Holofernes (Naples) Because she broke with convention, she was not very popular with male members of the aristocracy, but she had among her patrons the great names of the day including Cosimo d'Medici, cardinals Francesco and Antonio Barberino, Philip IV of Spain, Charles I of England (she collaborated with her father to paint Queen Henrietta Maria's palace ceiling), the Duke of Modena, and Don Ruffo of Sicily. During the latter period of her life, her works became more feminine; more graceful in motif and style, as evidenced in her Lot and his Daughters (Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, Spain). She died of unknown causes in Naples, where she spent the last of her years.
Artemisia was buried in the church of St. John of the Florentines, in Naples. Unfortunately the place was destroyed in the Second World War.
Artemisia was once thought to have died in 1652/1653, however, recent evidence has shown that she was still accepting commissions in 1654—although increasingly dependent upon her assistant, Onofrio Palumbo. It might be speculated that she died in the devastating plague that swept Naples in 1656 and virtually wiped out an entire generation of Neapolitan artists.
Body lost or destroyed
Specifically: original headstone lost during restoration of churchyard
Created by: Amorifera
Record added: Jan 25, 2006
Find A Grave Memorial# 13117959