Orazio Gentileschi Rest on the Flight into Egypt, 1628, canvas,
Musée du Louvre, Paris
|According to the Brittanica,
According to the Brittanica, Orazio Gentileschi (1562-1639) whose,
Orazio had a daughter named Artemisia (1593-1652/53) who was also a painter. According to the Brittanica,original name ORAZIO LOMI Italian Baroque painter, one of the more important painters who came under the influence of Caravaggio and who was one of the more successful interpreters of his style.
Gentileschi first studied with his half brother Aurelio Lomi. At some time in the late 1570s or early 1580s he went to Rome, where, with the landscape painter Agostino Tassi, he painted frescoes in churches of Santa Maria Maggiore, San Giovanni Laterano, and Santa Nicola in Carcere from about 1590 to 1600, executing figures for Tassi's landscapes.
In the first years of the 17th century Gentileschi came under the influence of Caravaggio, also in Rome at the time. His paintings of this period (e.g., "David and Goliath," 1610?, and "St. Cecilia and the Angel," 1610?) employ Caravaggio's use of dramatic, unconventional gesture and monumental composition, his uncompromising realism and contemporary representation of figure types, and to some extent his strong chiaroscuro, or light-and-dark contrast. Shortly afterward Gentileschi developed a Tuscan lyricism foreign to Caravaggio's almost brutal vitality, a lighter palette, and a more precise treatment reminiscent of his Mannerist beginnings. From 1621 to 1623 Gentileschi was in Genoa, where he painted his masterpiece, "The Annunciation" (1623), a work of consummate grace that shows a weakening of Caravaggio's influence. The composition still depends on dramatic gestures, here of the Virgin and the angel, and there is still a strong immediacy to the incident and an absence of idealization. The mood, however, is more restrained and lyrical than in his earlier works, the colours are light, and the earlier chiaroscuro is absent.
After a stay in France, Gentileschi traveled to England in 1626 at the invitation of King Charles I; he remained there as court painter for the rest of his life, his work becoming increasingly conventional and decorative. His last major work is an ambitious series of ceiling paintings for the Queen's House, Greenwich, painted probably after 1635, and now in Marlborough House, London.
Italian painter, daughter of Orazio Gentileschi, who was a major follower of the revolutionary Baroque painter Caravaggio. She was an important second-generation proponent of Caravaggio's dramatic realism.
A pupil of her father and of his friend, the landscape painter Agostino Tassi, she painted at first in a style indistinguishable from her father's somewhat lyrical interpretation of Caravaggio's example. Her first known work is "Susanna and the Elders" (1610), an accomplished work long attributed to her father. She was raped by Tassi, and, when he did not fulfill his promise to marry her, Orazio Gentileschi in 1612 brought him to trial. During that event she herself was forced to give evidence under torture. She married a Florentine shortly after the trial and joined the Academy of Design in Florence in 1616. While in Florence she began to develop her own distinct style. Her colours are more brilliant than her father's, and she continued to employ the tenebrism made popular by Caravaggio long after her father had abandoned that style. Although her compositions were graceful, she was perhaps the most violent of all the Caravaggisti; she illustrated such subjects as the story from the Apocrypha of Judith, the Jewish heroine, beheading Holofernes, an invading general.
Artemisia Gentileschi was in Rome for a time and also in Venice. About 1630 she moved to Naples and in 1638-39 visited her father in London. There she painted many portraits and quickly surpassed her father's fame. Later, probably in 1640 or 1641, she settled in Naples, but little is known of the final years of her life.
of Painting or "La Pittura" 1630
Oil on Canvas
|Form: This self portrait demonstrates her skill as a
painter. The angle from which she chose to paint herself is an awkward
one and she almost certainly had to set up several mirrors in order to
bounce her reflection around until she was able to see herself. She
uses many of the standard formal schemas of Caravaggio's work, tenebrism,
a low key earth toned palette and heightened chiaroscuro.
Like Caravaggio she also has a fine command of painting drapery.
Iconography: According to the Webgalleries website,
An example of Gentileschi's mature work, this painting depicts the artist not only in a self portrait but also as Pittura, the originator of the art of painting. Artemisia has given us her image, painted in profile, and the attributes of the personification of painting in accordance with Ripa's Iconologia. Around her neck, she wears the golden chain and the mask of imitation. Her disheveled hair depicts the divine frenzy of artistic temperament, and the handling of color on her dress shows Artemisia's skill as an artist. Although other artists have depicted Pittura, Artemisia's portrait is unique because only a female artist would be able to depict herself as the allegory of painting. Until this time, the male artists who worked this theme had to add a female figurehead to represent Ripa's Pittura.Artemisia also updates her depiction almost with the same use of genre as Caravaggio. In this image she dresses her allegorical Pittura as a 17th century woman.
Context: Artemisia self portrait is interesting because her depiction of herself is quite different than one might expect a female painter to create. Comparing her self portrait against Sofonisba Anguissola's may give you some insight as to how her past has influenced her life.
Judith Slaying Holofernes c1620
Judith Beheading Holofernes
Oil on Canvas
Uffizi Gallery, Florence
Judith with the head of Holofernes c1625
Detroit, Institute of Art
Gentileschi's images feel "real." The postures and movement in Gentileschi's images are fluid and naturalistic. One feels the struggle the two women face in trying to escape. Unlike Caravaggio's painting, Judith and Holofernes, Gentileschi's image shows powerful women. In Caravaggio's the servant is an old woman as opposed to the young beautiful and powerful maid accompanying Judith in Gentileschi's images.
Make sure you read Mencher, Liaisons 197-214 Judith and Holofernes
It has been argued that this painting expresses Artemisia's psychological revenge on Tassi. It is, in fact, one of several canvas' which Artemisia based the Judith theme, but the subject matter was a popular one and was treated by many artists throughout the centuries. What makes this painting unique, however, is Artemisia's rendering of Judith as a strong and capable heroine. While many depictions of Judith show her after the slaying of Holofernes, Gentileschi gives us Judith in the act of killing the man. The subject matter is taken from the Book of Judith whereby Judith liberates her people by slaying the evil tyrant. She has entered the enemy camp under the guise of seducing Holofernes and when he falls asleep she hacks off his head with his sword. Carrying back his head in a bag, she presents it to her people, who then go on to defeat the Assyrians. The dark background and single source of light add psychological tension and drama to the scene and cause it to play out beyond the boarders of the canvas. We, as spectators, have become witness to a murder.
Gentileschi, Susanna and the Elders c1640
|Make sure you read Mencher, Liaisons 197-214 Susanna and the Elders|
al.le.go.ry n, pl -ries [ME allegorie, fr. L allegoria, fr. Gk allegoria, fr. allegorein to speak figuratively, fr. allos other + -egorein to speak publicly, fr. agora assembly--more at else, agora] (14c) 1: the expression by means of symbolic fictional figures and actions of truths or generalizations about human existence; also: an instance (as in a story or painting) of such expression 2: a symbolic representation: emblem 2
apoc.ry.pha n pl but sing or pl in constr [ML, fr. LL, neut. pl. of apocryphus secret, not canonical, fr. Gk apokryphos obscure, fr. apokryptein to hide away, fr. apo- + kryptein to hide--more at crypt] (14c) 1: writings or statements of dubious authenticity 2 cap a: books included in the Septuagint and Vulgate but excluded from the Jewish and Protestant canons of the Old Testament b: early Christian writings not included in the New Testament
apoc.ry.phal adj (1590) 1: of doubtful authenticity: spurious 2 often cap: of or resembling the Apocrypha syn see fictitious -- apoc.ry.phal.ly adv -- apoc.ry.phal.ness n
chiar.oscu.ro n, pl -ros [It, fr. chiaro clear, light + oscuro obscure, dark] (1686) 1: pictorial representation in terms of light and shade without regard to color 2 a: the arrangement or treatment of light and dark parts in a pictorial work of art b: the interplay or contrast of dissimilar qualities (as of mood or character) 3: a 16th century woodcut technique involving the use of several blocks to print different tones of the same color; also: a print made by this technique 4: the interplay of light and shadow on or as if on a surface 5: the quality of being veiled or partly in shadow
According to the Brittanica,
Chiaroscuro (from Italian chiaro, "light"; scuro, "dark"),
technique employed in the visual arts to represent light and shadow as they define three-dimensional objects.
Some evidence exists that ancient Greek and Roman artists used chiaroscuro effects, but in European painting the technique was first brought to its full potential by Leonardo da Vinci in the late 15th century in such paintings as his "Adoration of the Magi" (1481; Uffizi, Florence). Thereafter, chiaroscuro became a primary technique for many painters, and by the late 17th century the term was routinely used to describe any painting, drawing, or print that depends for its effect on an extensive gradation of light and darkness.
"chiaroscuro." and Britannica 2001 Standard Edition CD-ROM. Copyright © 1994-2001 Britannica.com Inc. November 19, 2002.
genre n [F, fr. MF, kind, gender--more at gender] (1770) 1: a category of artistic, musical, or literary composition characterized by a particular style, form, or content 2: kind, sort 3: painting that depicts scenes or events from everyday life usu. realistically
ten.e.brism n, often cap [L tenebrae darkness] (1954): a style of painting esp. associated with the Italian painter Caravaggio and his followers in which most of the figures are engulfed in shadow but some are dramatically illuminated by a concentrated beam of light usu. from an identifiable source -- ten.e.brist n or adj, often cap
according to the Brittanica,
"in the history of Western painting, the use of extreme contrasts of light and dark in figurative compositions to heighten their dramatic effect. (The term is derived from the Latin tenebrae, "darkness.") In tenebrist paintings the figures are often portrayed against a background of intense darkness, but the figures themselves are illuminated by a bright, searching light that sets off their three-dimensional forms by a harsh but exquisitely controlled chiaroscuro . The technique was introduced by the Italian painter Caravaggio (1571?-1610) and was taken up in the early 17th century by painters influenced by him, including the French painter Georges de La Tour, the Dutch painters Gerrit van Honthorst and Hendrik Terbrugghen, and the Spanish painter Francisco de Zurbarán."