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The Renaissance Battle of the Sexes Online!



Artemisia Gentileschi: Portrait of a A Female Artist

artemisia_self.jpg (33378 bytes)Artemisia Gentileschi, born in 1593 to Orazio Gentileschi, a painter, was the only of her family to follow her fatherís footsteps as an artist. Had she not been trained by her father, she most likely could not have become an artist, since this trade was not formally open to women. She lost her mother at the age of 12, and her art seemed to focus on a womanís vulnerability in society. At 17, she experienced being sexually assaulted by a friend of the family. Since she feared societyís opinion about her retaliation, she did not physically resist him immediately. Then, to cover for his improper actions, she expected him to do the proper thing and offer marriage, but that offer never occurred. Following this experience, she painted situations where females were the central dominant role using direct metaphors to show and explain her feelings toward men.

"Self Portrait"
Artemisia Gentileschi

To todayís society Artemisia can be considered an early feminist. Soon after her death, her previously sought-after art diminished from the mainstream, as the male-run society pushed it behind closed doors. During the time of the Italian Renaissance, the accomplishments and work done by women earned little respect by the mainly patriarchal society of the time, including the art. These works by Artemisia prove that the art by women can easily compare in depth and articulation with any male works of the time. Her accomplishments, in an oppressed society, only make the art more valuable.

"Judith Slaying Holofernes"  Artemisia Gentileschi                                                        "Madonna and Child"  Artemisia Gentileschi


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Note: This page has been created as a result of research done by students at Plymouth-Salem High School as part of a Humanities class. All data presented, unless otherwise noted, derives from these research materials. Any inaccuracy of information is accidental. Thank you for visiting our site!

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