Art AV Club: Artemisia Gentileschi

A 17th-century feminist painter who’s career lasted 40 years despite a sexual assault and scandalous trial.

I fell down a YouTube rabbit hole recently, like you do. I took an online class and one of the bonus materials was a video about Cy Twombly. After I watched it, I wondered if there were videos on other Abstract Expressionists. And just like all trips down the YouTube rabbit hole, I surfaced several hours later awed by the amazing content and looking for snacks.

Social media doesn’t allow for easy sharing of this kind of material. So I decided to make it a recurring feature on my blog. And just like that, Art AV Club was born! On Mondays, I’ll post videos of or about artists. I’ll share a bit about why what they do intrigues me. I hope you’ll go on this journey with me. Italian Baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi is my pick this week for Art AV Club.

Content Warning: discussions of sexual assault, visuals of painted: beheading, wounds, and female nudes.

Feminism: 17th century style

Focusing on women in her painting. Supporting herself with her work. Doing business without the oversight of a man.

Artemisia Gentileschi’s most famous work

A deep look at “Judith Beheading Holofernes” through the lens of Artemisia’s sexual assault and the subsequent trial.

Women’s Work

I first learned about Gentileschi from the book Broad Strokes: 15 Women Who Made Art and Made History (in That Order). I was both intrigued by her artist story and saddened by her assault and trial. Unsurprisingly, when I started my series Women’s Work I wanted to include her as one of the women I focused on. My piece Artemisia is one of the largest pieces from that series and somehow carries a sadness I didn’t intend when I created it. I hope you’ll read about the creation of this piece via that link above.

Pink and blue swirling backgrounds cover text depicting Artemisa Gentileschi. A large partially burned piece of antique white crochet covers the pinks and blues on the left.

Go exploring on your own

I hope you enjoyed this Art AV Club. Maybe it will lead you to further explore the works of Artemisia Gentileschi. I’ll be bringing another artist next week so check back on Monday. If there’s an artist you’d like my take on, drop me a note and I’ll put them on the list!