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Monday, March 19, 2012

The Musée Maillol presents: Artemisia - Power, Glory and Passions of a Female Painter

On the 8th of July 1593 was born in Rome the eldest daughter of the italian baroque painter Orazio Lomi Gentileschi, Artemisia Lomi Gentileschi.

Artemisia began receiving instruction in the art of painting at a very early age, quite probably by her father. In a letter dated July 3, 1962, adressed by her father to the Grand Duchess of Tuscany, he atests his daughter's artistic skills.
The young woman's first ever signature, “ARTEMITIA. / GENTILESCHI. F / 1610”, appears in the lower left hand corner of a "Susanna and the Elders," currently in the Schönborn collection in Pommersfelden, Germany.

At the age of 18, Artemisia is raped by Agostino Tassi, a colleague of Orazio’s. After the rape, Tassi promises to marry the young woman and convinces her to continue a relationship with him for another nine months.

However around March-April 1612, impelled by public morality, though also by personal interest, her father decides do denounce Tassi and make public his rape of Artemisia.
The rape trial of Agostino Tassi opens on March 2 and continues for another seven months, until October 29.

Meanwhile, Orazio Gentileschi sends a letter to the Grand Duchess Christine of Lorraine in Florence about the trial, pleading with her to intervene and to prevent Agostino Tassi from walking free. In that letter, he also proposes to send the Grand Duchess one of his daughter’s paintings to demonstrate her abilities. At this stage, according to her father, Artemisia has already been painting for three years.

The verdict is announced on November 27, 1612: Agostino Tassi is sentenced to a five years exile from Rome‘sub pena triremium,’ as a galley slave. Subsequently, the punishment is judged to have been unfair and Tassi never serves his sentence.

On November 29, 1612 Artemisia marries Pierantonion Stiattesi, a minor artist born in Florence, son of a cobler and brother of Giovan Battista. He was also friend of Orazio.
Their first son, Giovanni Battista, is baptized on September 21, 1613, in the church of Santa Maria Novella in Forence.

While in Florence, Artemisia starts gaining reputation. Among her commissions, there's an Allegory of Inclination commissioned by Michelangelo Buonarroti the Younger.
She becomes a member of Florence’s Accademia del Disegno on July 19, 1616, as testified by two documents that also make reference to Orazio. It’s probably over the following years that, thanks to Buonarroti and Matteo Frescobaldi, Artemisia becomes a friend of Galileo Galilei, a member of Accademia del Disegno since 1613 and with whom she would later remain in correspondence.
Along the following years and between several commissions, Artemisia's life and of her family suffers inumerous mishaps.

Artemisia Lomi Gentileschi was quite probably deceased between 1652 and 1654; a document dated from January 31, 1654, provides proof of the collaboration between Artemisia and Palumbo.
According to 17th to 19th century sources, Artemisia was buried in the church of San Giovanni dei Fiorentini in Naples. The precise location of the grave remains uncertain, as the headstone bearing the simple inscription “HEIC ARTIMISIA” had already disappeared when restoration work was carried out in 1785.

From March 14th throughout July 15th, 2012, the Musée Maillol - Fondation Dina Vierny,Paris, presents the major exhibition "Artemisia - Power, glory and passions of a female painter" (Artemisia - Povoir, gloire et passions d'une femme peintre."
The exhibition includes a significant number of paintings from several important museums and galleries in Italy and abroad, as well from private art collections.
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