ON DEMAND • Artemisia Gentileschi: The only known female follower of Caravaggio


Artemisia Gentileschi: The only known female follower of Caravaggio
Presented by Dr. Snjezana Smodlaka 

For the excellence of her art Artemisia Gentileschi (1593-1652-3) is today among the most prominent Italian Baroque painters, male or female. In male dominated art world this girl, born in Rome, was the first female professional painter who obtained high honors: she was the first woman member of the celebrated Florentine Art Academy; THE MEDiCI FAMILY AND  THE KINGS OF SPAIN AND ENGLAND commissioned paintings from her. In spite of accomplishments and fame during her lifetime for almost three centuries oblivion and silence hid her artwork. Recent scholarly research gave Artemisia well deserved place in art history.

In most of her paintings she did not conform to or imitated style or topics that were traditional at the time. Her subjects were women from the Bible and the history, women victims who suffered, but who were determined and active in taking their destiny into their own hands. Paintings with such topics required radically different treatment and Artemisia created and introduced dramatic and original depiction of her heroines that, with exception of Caravaggio, was rarely seen in European art.

Artemisia’s style and choice of the subjects might have been influenced by her painful experience as a survivor and innocent victim of a rape. A public scandal that ensued almost ruined her reputation as a painter.

In this presentation we will hear about her hard life and see her most famous paintings.



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About the Speakers:

Snjezana Smodlaka, born in Croatia, holds a B.A. in Italian Literature, M.A. in Romance Philology, M.A and Ph.D. in Italian Literature from Rutgers University. She was a high school Italian and Latin teacher, and adjunct professor at Wagner College, CSI, and Rutgers University. She has published many articles on Italian language and literature and presented more than 40 papers at international congresses in the United States, Canada, Croatia, Italy, Spain, Germany, France, and Austria. For two decades, she broadened her research on aesthetics and intersections between Italian literature, figurative arts, and opera. She is committed to bringing back Italian Renaissance and Baroque women artists from centuries-old oblivion.

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