Gentileschi Influence On Women

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During the explosion of art and ideas which took place during the Renaissance, women began to emerge on the scene as major figures in Italian artistic circles. Artists like Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, and Donatello, among others, dominated the primarily masculine art scene. However, the female artists would take the art scene by storm. The first and foremost among them was the daughter of Orazio Gentileschi, Artemisia. Her works, like Judith Slaying Holofernes, Susanna and the Elders, and her famous Self-Portrait as a Lute Player, depicted mainstream Biblical events in a new light. Her empowerment of women in her art influenced many female artists after her to produce their own work, sparking a chain reaction. Artemisia Gentileschi’s…show more content…
Orazio Gentileschi, her father, was a student of Caravaggio, one of the great painters of the time. He taught her valuable lessons about shadows and color, instilling a basic knowledge of art in a young Artemisia. Her immense talent outshone all of those around her, including her brother, Francesco, and her two brothers who died very young. Although they worked alongside her, her tremendous knack for the finer details of art displayed enough potential to convince her father that she could be taught. Their dedication to great art meant using empty workspaces and working in the dark to produce their work. Caravaggio’s influence passed through Orazio to Artemisia. Caravaggio would remain a massive influence on the future works of Artemisia, as Orazio “slowly turned toward observation of 2 nature, especially to multi-figure compositions, especially in terms of space.” However, she felt liberated to add her own flair to her work which caused her to stand out: her emphasis on the power and independence of women. Evident in her most famous work, titled Judith Slaying Holofernes, she believed that women had the power to change the course of history through action, like Judith did by slaying King Holofernes for his…show more content…
One of the chief reasons this work reached the recognition it received can be attributed to the power Gentileschi gives Judith. In this work, the corrupt Assyrian general, Holofernes, is killed and decapitated by Judith while her maidservant holds him down. The message of this painting is exactly the sentiment Gentileschi is trying to send to women; she illustrates women as powerful, influential, and impactful. Judith does what the Israelites could not: kill their enemy, Holofernes. Her work is also a statement against her critics, a “a cathartic expression of the artist 's private, and perhaps repressed, rage.” Artemisia’s life and career have not been widely respected at this point, and her anger towards the structure of Renaissance Italy has been building. In response, she painted Judith carrying away the head of Holofernes with her maidservant, a fitting closing to the assassination of Holofernes. The way she depicted this scene would be emulated by the artists who followed her for years and years to come. Rather than showing a weak squeamish woman, Gentileschi showed power and command that highlighted women. The maidservant is carrying the head of Holofernes away in a basket, rather than previous depictions of his head in a sack. Gentileschi’s lack of squeamishness bucks

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