She would be 427 years old today: Artemisia Gentileschi.
I was very pleased today when I opened my browser and saw that Google decided to celebrate Artemisia Gentileschi through the daily doodle.
Artemisia has always been one of my greatest passion as a student and as an adult. She has been one of the very few women seriously involved in the arts in the past centuries, when painting, sculpting and designing was a matter for men only. Her father was a painter too, one of those who painted under the shade of Caravaggio, learning his techniques and the innovations he brought. As a child, Artemisia was used to spend her time in his father’s workshop, preparing the colours for him, and then she approached the canvasses herself. She was only 17 years old when she painted her masterpiece, called “Susan and the elders”.
It is not by chance that she choose this subject. When she was a teen ager she had been repeatedly harassed, for 9 months, by one of his father’s best friend and colleague a lot older then her.
Artemisia is not not only a painting master, but also a genuine women, who despite having been abused and lived in a world dominated by men, never abandoned her dream: she wanted to become an artist and she did.
In my opinion every men and women should read her biography because her story is so present it could have happened yesterday: she wasn’t believed when she spoke out the harassment, and during the trial she had to undergo the sybil torture (which is the worst for anyone who needs to use the hands for work) to check if she was speaking the truth or not. She was stronger than her enemies, and she made it.
Reading about her is somehow disturbing as you may feel that nothing has changed since the times she lived, but on the other hand, we also understand how a strong will can make our days…and our lives.
For once i have to thank Google for sharing Artemisia’s message with the whole world.
Most of her works are in Italy so plan your visit also to honour Artemisia.