Self-portrait of Artemisia Gentileschi

Self-portrait of Artemisia Gentileschi

Last week, the residence of the Paris Drouot auction marketed previously unknown images of Artemisia Gentileschi, a representative from Italian Baroque and the first woman who was a member of the Florence Academy of Fine Arts. “Self-portraits in the image of St Catherine” discovered and identified by Christophe Joron-Derem, the authorship of Artemisia Gentileschi was confirmed by an experienced artist in the field of painting Eric Turcan (√Čric Turquin). The organizers aspire that the painting will be marketed for 300-400 thousand euros, but as a result of the offer price, taking into account the auction residence commission, amounting to 2,310,600 euros – a record number for Artemisia Gentileschi paintings.

Artemisia Gentileschi ” Self-portrait in the image of St. Catherine” (1614 – 1616)

Artemisia Gentilesky’s creativity (1593 – during 1656) of the use of extended time did not appeal to the attention of all historians and art collectors. The interest in the spectacular paintings and biographies of the artist began to increase from the 1970s, and now not a few people call him the second most important Italian artist of the 17th century after Caravaggio.

These artists sprang up in Rome, in the family of Tuscan Orazio Gentileschi painters, who were working at the time in the frescoes of the Vatican Library and close to Caravaggio. Even though Orazio had many sons again, it was the daughter who turned out to be the ablest to paint, so the father began to submit lessons to him. One of his favorite paintings is Susanna and the Elders (1610 – 1611, the collection of Weisenstein Palace). Experienced people believe that in this picture Artemisia Gentileschi can combine Caravaggio’s realism with the tradition of Annibale Carracci and artists different from the Bologna school.

Artemisia Gentileschi “Susanna and the Elders”

It is worth copying that Susanna, written by Artemisia Gentileschi, was not a passive participant in these events, which did not indicate a strong reaction to them, as in the majority of paintings on this subject that was previously created. The image shows that the abuse of all elders resulted in women’s heroes suffering. Maybe this picture has illustrated the history of the artist himself. In 1611, Orazio Gentileschi worked with artist Agostino Tassi in a mural at the Roman Palazzo Pallavicini-Rospilosi. Tassi became a mentor for Artemisia. Immediately Tassi raped the girl. After that, they lived together for some time, and Artemisia aspired to Agostino Tassi to marry her. But he had no intention of getting married, and, in the end, Artemisia’s father claimed Agostino Tassi. Artemisia must go through a lengthy legal process, reduce procedures for checking and even interrogating torture. Tassi was married, but she hid this fact from Artemisia and her family. He was convicted and sentenced to a year in prison.

Artemisia Gentileschi “Judith and Holofernes” (1612)

In 1612, when the trial was not finished, Artemisia once recorded a picture of “Judith and Holofernes” (Museum of Capodimonte, Naples). Despite being provoked by Caravaggio, who also painted a picture of this plot, it might be more expressive, and Judith felt no doubt when cracking down on Holofernes. It is believed that Artemisia Gentileschi gave the characteristics of the female hero himself, and Holofernes gave up the appearance of Agostino Tassi. Then, he will return to this story (a picture in the Uffizi Gallery), and also many times will take note of Judith and a waiter carrying the severed head of Holofernes.

Shortly after the trial, Artemisia Gentileschi married Pierantoni and Stiattesi, who, according to testimony from one testimony, was an artist who was not well-known, and according to information from another, a lawyer. He left Rome and his father’s family and went to Florence. With the fastest, she was successful as an artist, and her husband arranged his affair (according to the legal statements during those times, a woman was not allowed to create her contract). He communicated with highly respected artists at that time, like Cristofano Allori, enjoying the support and protection of Cosimo II Medici and his mother, Grand Duchess Christina from Lorraine, saving his letter to Galileo Galilei, indicating acquaintances of artists and scientists. The first of all women he was a member of the Florence Academy of Fine Arts.

Artemisia Gentileschi “Mary Magdalene” (1616-1618, Palazzo Pitti, Florence)

Michelangelo Buonarroti Jr. (Michelangelo’s grandniece) invited him with different artists to create ceiling paintings at Casa Buonarroti. Each artist is asked to reflect the allegory between qualities related to Michelangelo. Artemisia indicates the Allegoria Natural Talent (Allegoria dell’Inclinazione) in the image of a naked girl holding a compass. As in not a few other cases, he blesses a girl who is reflected in her nature.

Allegoria dell’Inclinazione, 1615

In Florence, Artemisia and Pierantoni Stiattesi had four children, but two of them died early. Only in the 21st century did one more detail become clear about the life of Artemisia Gentileschi in Florence. The researchers pursued correspondence from 1616-1620, from which it was followed that the artist had an affair with the wealthy Florentine aristocrat Francesco Maringa, and Artemisia’s husband was aware of all the events and even corresponded with Maringa behind a love letter written by his wife. However, in 1620, rumors about the novel seemed to have spread best. Besides, financial problems began to haunt the family, the year before the greatest philanthropist Cosimo Medici died, and Artemisia Gentileschi and her husband returned to Rome.

Artemisia Gentileschi “Prison and Sisara” (around 1620, Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest)

Artemisia Gentileschi “Sleeping Venus” (1626, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts)

But Artemisia came to Rome no longer as a young girl, but all people had gossiped after the court which was a shame, but a famous artist. He received orders from kings and dukes, known as fellow painters. Right, at that moment he broke up with her husband, who, perhaps, was not satisfied with his wife’s fame. In 1627 – 1630, Artemisia Gentileschi worked in Venice, then moved to Naples, and in 1634 accepted the invitation of King Charles I and went to London. He worked there for many years, but not much is known about his final years. The researchers believe that in 1642 when civil war broke out in England, Artemisia Gentileschi had left the country. It is understood that in 1648 he resettled in Naples. For a long time, it was believed that the artist died in 1652 or 1653, but a search in the documentation shows that he received orders since 1654. It is now thought that Artemisia fell victim to the epidemic in 1656, which killed not a few Neapolitans.

Artemisia Gentileschi “Madonna and Child with a Rose Garden” (1651)

In 1947, public attention to the fate of Artemisia Gentileschi attracted the book of Italian writers and art historian Anna Banti, written in a diary format. In the 1980s, he became the leading figure in the drama “Life without prompt” by Canadian drama writer Sally Clark. In 1997, the French feature film “Artemisia” and a British detective television series appeared, reflecting the fiction of the kidnapping of his painting “Judith and Holofernes.” In 2002, a novel about the artist wrote Susan Vryland, in 2016 – Lisa Hilton, and in 2018 the appearance of a book by Joy McCulloch concerning litigation on the issue of Artemisia Gentileschi.

In 2014, images of Artemisia Gentileschi “Ecstasy of Mary Magdalene” were found in France and marketed at the Sotheby’s auction in Paris for 1,179,832 dollars. Now this record is exceeded. The buyer of the painting remains unknown, and art historians have regretted that, it could be substantial, it is a private collection, while the works of Artemisia Gentileschi cannot boast a large museum like the Louvre, the National Gallery in London or the Getty Museum.

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