Artemisia Gentileschi


The major historical contribution of Artemisia was her great deal of Baroque art. She earned herself a great reputation and honor through her skillful and expressionist paintings at early age of 17 years (Mary 10). In her time, there were very few female artists as majority of them restricted themselves to portrait and still live, in fact there were no academic institutions that offered art to female students; however her father sort assistance of Agostino Tassi to help her. She contributed immensely in the development of historical and religious concept of which her art work mostly involved; her favorite subjects included biblical heroines such as Judith and some of the powerful women of impact who guided their own destinies (Mary 12).

Artemisia helped to make females of her time recognizable by the society. In her era, female painters were neither recognized nor accepted by artistic community or even patrons. She became the first female painter member of the Accademia di Arte del Disegno in Florence. She gave many females encouragement and inspiration through her work and therefore motivating them to venture into the field of art and painting that has proceeded up to today’s life (Mary 24). Artemisia used pictures of strong and suffering female from the bible and myth who in one way or the other seemed to be victimized by their subjective men. For instance in the painting of Susanna and Elders, the posture and expression on her face reveals that person who is annoyed, afraid, vulnerable and disgusted by the insinuation of men (Mary 38).. In such art work and paintings, she intended female to understand their humiliation and fight against rebel mistreatment against them by men.

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Despite the suffering and hardship she faced in her life, she showed prowess in using it creative to fine art. Artemisia fought for freedom of female in many occasion through her painting and direct denial to physical harassment. When she was raped by Tassi, she took a step, with assistance of her father to sue him even though the court did not consider such case relevant as it was presumed that it is the cause of women that lead to rape. Tassi was arrested and jailed for one year, but later won the case (Mary 52). Nevertheless she contributed immensely in enlightening the women of her time as well as making them find strength in themselves.

Obstacles Faced  

Among the obstacles that Artemisia faced in her life was inadequate education to her career. The society did not consider educating women in the field of art and painting, therefore she faced many challenges in learning how to pint with occasional assistance of her father and Agostino Tassi. For this matter, initially it was hard to be recognized as a female painter in any art school of the male dominated society. She faced physical harassment such as rape and rejection by the society (Mary 62).

Controversial Issue

According to the norms of the society during her era, Artemisia was controversialist as she went against the rules of academics that no female were allowed to learn the art of painting. She did most of the unexpected things such as sue Tassi to the law court on the basis of rape. In most of her work, she revealed females in her society as sad folk who were uncomfortable with their life in as much as many seemed not to care and just went on with their lives.

Contribution to the Overall Human Experience

In spite of the many challenges we may face in life, provided they do not kill us they strengthen us. This is an obvious message revealed by Artemisia through her work. Her work encourages human to pursue their talents regardless the many obstacles they may face. Her great fine work leaves her audience on with the experience of persistence in good work and awareness of their social surrounding as factors that may hinder their progress (Mary 66).. It also, reveals total fine work of personal effort and hard work. 

Impact to the Society

Her work enabled the society to appreciate the great talents that female could posses. She transformed the way men perceived women and helped them gain acceptance. She motivated and inspired many women to the field of fine painting,

Comparison to Modern Day

Artemisia work is still considered the great work of fine painting in history. Modern day artist apply the many lessons learnt in her work to perfect their talent  such as use of sharp corners of the image to objects the artist want attract and focus the eye most, using baroque movements in amazing posture and style to convey the intended message. Definitely, Artemisia’s work has been a basis on which the modern art of painting has been developed and improved (Mary 54).

In conclusion, Artemisia Gentileschi had to bear with many challenges and difficulties in both her personal and professional life. She had to overcome the act of rape at her early age and prove her proficient in painting as she was the first female in the field dominated by male. She did extemporary work leaving nothing to be compared to male counterparts. She was indeed a great artist of her era.

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