Artemisia Gentileschi exhibition. Image shows secgtion of one of her works, Judith neheading Holofernes.

Gentileschi exhibition in Genoa

Culture News

The life and artistic journey of Artemisia Gentileschi, a groundbreaking 17th-century Baroque artist and feminist trailblazer, unfold in a compelling exhibition titled ‘Artemisia Gentileschi, Courage and Passion’ at Genoa’s Doge’s Palace (Palazzo Ducale).

The Artemisia Gentileschi exhibition opens 16th November and runs until April 1 next year. Recognised as the first woman admitted to an art academy, Gentileschi’s work is showcased through 50 masterpieces from Europe and the United States.

The exhibition traces her evolution from Caravaggio-esque beginnings to the pinnacle of Italian Baroque expression in her later works. Gentileschi’s work was fuelled by the trauma of her rape by one of her father’s associates, for which she suffered torture during his trial.

Curator Costantino D’Orazio emphasises, “The common thread is, without doubt, the life and career of an exceptional woman who, like all women of her time, faced difficulties in becoming a professional.” Artemisia initially learned painting at home but encountered further challenges after experiencing violence. D’Orazio notes, “She will succeed purely thanks to her talent which will lead her to work for the Medicis, for the King of England, becoming an international artist in the 40 years of her career.”

Who was Artemisia Gentileschi?

Artemisia Gentileschi, also known as Artemisia Lomi (8 July 1593 – c. 1656), ranks among the most accomplished 17th-century artists, initially influenced by Caravaggio. Remarkably, she began producing professional work at the age of 15, defying societal norms restricting women from artistic pursuits. Despite such constraints, she became the first woman to join the Accademia di Arte del Disegno in Florence and garnered an international clientele.

Her paintings are characterised by naturalistic depictions of the female figure. She has a masterful use of colour to convey dimension and drama, and the women featured are from myths, allegories, and the Bible. Notable works include “Susanna and the Elders,” “Judith Slaying Holofernes,” and “Judith and Her Maidservant,” showcasing her ability to convey strength, vulnerability, and resilience.

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