The pioneering painter survived a rape, but scholars are pushing against the idea that her work was defined by it—and celebrating her rich harnessing of motherhood, passion, and ambition.
As one of the first women to forge a successful career as a painter, Artemisia Gentileschi was celebrated internationally in her lifetime, but her reputation languished after her death. This was partly owing to fashion: her naturalistic mode of painting went out of style, in favor of a more classical approach. Seventeenth-century scholars barely mentioned her.
Gentileschi excelled in figurative modelling. Her subjects, and most especially her women, occupy the canvas with thrilling dimensionality and expression. They move with musculature and speed.