From March 14 to July 15, 2012 – The Musée Maillol
The power, glory and passions of a female painter.
Born “Artemisia Gentileschi,” (1593/1654) she was the daughter of one of Rome’s greatest painters of the Baroque period.
An emblem of feminism in painting, a strong woman who traced her own destiny against all odds -including the jealousy of her peers and her own rape when she was a young girl. Agnés Merlet made a movie on her in 1997. She is one of these icons who transcend her time and can only be compared to Frida Kahlo or Camille Claudel, other art passionarias. Artemisia painted Bibe heroines who kenw how to deal with men, such as Judith, Dalila or Bethsabel. But not only them. She also paintd the sweet female faces of musicians or thinkers.
In 17th century Italy, a woman was treated by society like a juvenile throughout her life: she belonged to her father, her husband, her brothers or her sons. However, Artemisia Gentileschi broke all those rules; she belonged only to her art. In her search for glory and freedom, she worked for princes and cardinals, earning her living from her brush and tirelessly creating a body of work. Such was her talent and creative power that she became one of the most famous painters of her time and one of the world’s greatest artists.
Her personal life and her career were both profoundly influenced by the rape that she endured in her youth, and the notorious court action brought by her father against her aggressor, Agostini Tassi. The scandal has also been a factor in the lack of recognition for her undoubted genius. As with Caravaggio, it has taken more than three centuries for her work to be fully recognised once again and to be universally appreciated.
On show for the first time in France, the exhibition at the Musée Maillol now provides an opportunity to discover the paintings of Artemisia Gentileschi.