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Artemisia Gentileschi (Lives of the Artists)

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Artemisia Gentileschi was the greatest female artists of the Baroque age. In Artemisia Gentileschi, critic and historian Jonathan Jones discovers how Artemisia overcame a turbulent past to become one of the foremost painters of her day. As a young woman Artemisia was raped by her tutor, and then had to endure a seven-month-long trial during which she was brutally examined b Artemisia Gentileschi was the greatest female artists of the Baroque age. In Artemisia Gentileschi, critic and historian Jonathan Jones discovers how Artemisia overcame a turbulent past to become one of the foremost painters of her day. As a young woman Artemisia was raped by her tutor, and then had to endure a seven-month-long trial during which she was brutally examined by the authorities. Gentileschi was shamed in a culture where honour was everything. Yet she went on to become one of the most sought-after artists of the seventeenth century. Yet she went on to become one of the most sought-after artists of the seventeenth century. Gentileschi's art communicated a powerful personal vision. Like Frida Kahlo, Louise Bourgeois or Tracey Emin, she put her life into her art. 'Lives of the Artists'is a new series of brief artists biographies from Laurence King Publishing. The series takes as its inspiration Giorgio Vasari's five-hundred-year-old masterwork, updating it with modern takes on the lives of key artists past and present. Focusing on the life of the artist rather than examining their work, each book also includes key images illustrating the artist's life.


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Artemisia Gentileschi was the greatest female artists of the Baroque age. In Artemisia Gentileschi, critic and historian Jonathan Jones discovers how Artemisia overcame a turbulent past to become one of the foremost painters of her day. As a young woman Artemisia was raped by her tutor, and then had to endure a seven-month-long trial during which she was brutally examined b Artemisia Gentileschi was the greatest female artists of the Baroque age. In Artemisia Gentileschi, critic and historian Jonathan Jones discovers how Artemisia overcame a turbulent past to become one of the foremost painters of her day. As a young woman Artemisia was raped by her tutor, and then had to endure a seven-month-long trial during which she was brutally examined by the authorities. Gentileschi was shamed in a culture where honour was everything. Yet she went on to become one of the most sought-after artists of the seventeenth century. Yet she went on to become one of the most sought-after artists of the seventeenth century. Gentileschi's art communicated a powerful personal vision. Like Frida Kahlo, Louise Bourgeois or Tracey Emin, she put her life into her art. 'Lives of the Artists'is a new series of brief artists biographies from Laurence King Publishing. The series takes as its inspiration Giorgio Vasari's five-hundred-year-old masterwork, updating it with modern takes on the lives of key artists past and present. Focusing on the life of the artist rather than examining their work, each book also includes key images illustrating the artist's life.

30 review for Artemisia Gentileschi (Lives of the Artists)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Timothy Dymond

    “I have made a solemn vow never to send my drawings because people have cheated me. In particular, just today I found...that, having done a drawing of souls in Purgatory for the Bishop of St. Gata, he, in order to spend less, commissioned another painter to do the painting using my work. If I were a man, I can't imagine it would have turned out this way.”—Artemisia Gentileschi Critic and art historian Jonathan Jones’ short biography of Artemisia Gentileschi, the greatest female artist of the Baro “I have made a solemn vow never to send my drawings because people have cheated me. In particular, just today I found...that, having done a drawing of souls in Purgatory for the Bishop of St. Gata, he, in order to spend less, commissioned another painter to do the painting using my work. If I were a man, I can't imagine it would have turned out this way.”—Artemisia Gentileschi Critic and art historian Jonathan Jones’ short biography of Artemisia Gentileschi, the greatest female artist of the Baroque age, is a short and easy read. Gentileschi (1593-1654 or later) was, according to Jones, not just a highly successful artist in an age when guilds and academies closed their doors to women. She also communicated a powerful personal vision which was rare for artists in an age of commissioned works. Her paintings, Jones writes, are self-evidently autobiographical. The Baroque age in art lasted roughly from the early 17th century until the 1740s. The origins of the term ‘Baroque’ are disputed, one theory being that it comes from the Portuguese barroco, or ‘oddly shaped pearl’. It was associated with the Catholic Counter-Reformation, with reinvigorated Catholicism reflected in styles that tried to capture a sense of dynamic movement, realism, and the emotional impact of observed events. Baroque painters deliberately set themselves apart from the painters of the previous Renaissance. Their palette used intense and warm colours, particularly the primaries red, blue, and yellow. Gentileschi was a follower of the artist Caravaggio, and her father Orazio, also a talented artist, was Caravaggio’s close friend. She was the first woman to be accepted into Florence’s Accademia delle Arti del Disegnio (the Academy of the Arts of Drawing), and she was patronised by the courts both of the Medici of Florence, and Charles I of England. Her first masterpiece was completed at age 17: ‘Susanna and the Elders’ (1610) depicts biblical scene from the book of Daniel in which two voyeuristic elders spy on the virtuous Susanna while she is bathing, then attempt to blackmail her into having sex. She would revisit this scene in two other paintings later in life. Another biblical theme she painted multiple times was ‘Judith Slaying Holofernes’ (first around 1620) Jones notes that, while Caravaggio had also painted this scene, he did not match Gentileschi’s savage realism in the splatter of blood and the strain of muscle as two women sever a man’s head. Her famous works also include ‘Self-Portrait as the Allegory of Painting’ from around 1638-39. This is a realistic portrait of a painter at work in profile, including the tools of her trade such as the palette and brushes. Unfortunately no story of Gentileschi’s life is complete without an account of its worst moment. In 1611, her father Orazio hired his friend and colleague, the artist Agostino Tassi, to tutor his daughter. Jones describes Tassi as a nasty piece of work. He had already slept with his own sister in law, and hired bandits to kill his wife. Tassi raped Artemisia, denied everything and then tried to claim it was consensual. The ensuing rape trial was thoroughly documented, and included a requirement that Gentileschi (not Tasso) be tortured to ‘prove’ she was telling the truth. The torture was with thumbscrews - creating a genuine risk that Gentileschi might not be able to paint again. Tasso’s punishment was lenient by comparison, he was sentenced to exile (which never actually happened). Gentileschi’s paintings - especially ‘Judith Slaying Holofernes’ are often interpreted as revenge images reflecting her anger at her treatment. However Jones reminds us that she had a long subsequent career that took her all around Europe. Insofar as her anger is present in her art, it provides a sense of expressiveness that gives Gentileschi a contemporary edge that other ‘old masters’ lack.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Charlotte De koninck

    This is a lovely book. Through 7 chapters, Jonathan Jones explores the live and times of Artemisia Geltileschi, Carravagio's best pupil. Jones has an annoying habit of reading more into painting than is concievable possible. This is most evident in his biography of Carravagio. He does the same in this book, but here his emotional philosophising is so much more warranted because Artemesia's art is so expressive. I would recommend this! This is a lovely book. Through 7 chapters, Jonathan Jones explores the live and times of Artemisia Geltileschi, Carravagio's best pupil. Jones has an annoying habit of reading more into painting than is concievable possible. This is most evident in his biography of Carravagio. He does the same in this book, but here his emotional philosophising is so much more warranted because Artemesia's art is so expressive. I would recommend this!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Tess Liebregts

    This short autobiography gives a glimpse in into the life of one of the most interesting painters there have ever been. Not only is this woman's life food for novels with all its death, rape, treachery and love affairs, it's also one hell of a show of what a woman can be capable of. It is almost astonishing to me that all I've read here, is real; so much in just one life. This woman is an inspiration. This short autobiography gives a glimpse in into the life of one of the most interesting painters there have ever been. Not only is this woman's life food for novels with all its death, rape, treachery and love affairs, it's also one hell of a show of what a woman can be capable of. It is almost astonishing to me that all I've read here, is real; so much in just one life. This woman is an inspiration.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Shelley

    A very interesting read about this great artist and the many challenges and difficulties she endured. Also, a window into the struggles of living in the 17th Century.

  5. 5 out of 5

    saru

    really enjoyed learning more about artemisia, specially since the book is written in such a nice way.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Michel Albertijn

  7. 5 out of 5

    Val

  8. 5 out of 5

    Norah Sanders

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    Stephanie

  10. 5 out of 5

    Marcus Crompton

  11. 5 out of 5

    Saraya

  12. 4 out of 5

    Rob Bailey

  13. 5 out of 5

    Rhiannon

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ellie Dockerty

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Davies

  16. 5 out of 5

    Angela Roldan

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ann

  18. 4 out of 5

    Judithdepudith

  19. 5 out of 5

    Rita

  20. 5 out of 5

    Marthe Kes

  21. 5 out of 5

    Cherine Helmy

  22. 4 out of 5

    Maria

  23. 4 out of 5

    Lily May

  24. 4 out of 5

    Aine Mcmenamin

  25. 5 out of 5

    Mary Ann

  26. 4 out of 5

    Mackenzie

  27. 5 out of 5

    Chesapeake Carter

  28. 4 out of 5

    Eva Rodriguez-Greguski

  29. 4 out of 5

    B.Poe

  30. 5 out of 5

    Simon

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