Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A heroin for all time. . . . Artemisia Gentileschi

Self Portrait of Artemisia Gentileschi

Recently, my daughters and I read a book on the life of Artemisia Gentileschi (July 8, 1593 - 1653) an Italian Early Baroque painter. The story of her life touched both of us.

It's a story of betrayal followed by victory. One that makes us want to pick up painting, a first for them & again for me. A much loved hobby long ago forgotten due to the demands of a family and children. Of course in this day and time with the modern area in art and a definite lack of practice, and in my case a lack of talent, no pressure of aspirations of becoming famous artists. Motivated by the enjoyment of creativity and the simplicity of feeling a brush lying in my hand full of potential, the graceful fluid movement of the oil on the canvas, the smell of turpentine in the air. Just the thought of a compounding pharmacy making blocks of colors out of basic substances like flowers and brick powder excites me. Oh but I'm told that just isn't done anymore, though I'm sure somewhere, maybe across the big pond, it IS still done with flowers and linseed oil. The simple beautiful art of expression is something I have missed dearly in my life and the fact that I haven't shared that side of myself with the children I love so much is about to change.

If a woman in a time when women were considered mere possessions could do it for the love of the art. So can we. With all the walking Katlynn and I do our pallets should be full of beautiful scenes off the beaten path and who knows maybe she will have a talent for portraits or the natural vision needed to paint a fore-shortened foot. Who knows.

I guess the point is her story has inspired as women to be the best women we can be. We even decided the other night to cook rabbit stew, using her recipe, it was pretty great!

Just a brief history on our new heroin;
Artemisia faced the betrayal of rape compounded by the betrayal of her father and a public trial where she almost lost her fingers and her painting talent to a form of torture designed to "make a whore tell the truth". Explaining in part the many scenes of violence in her early work. After the trial she was forced to endure she was partnered into an arranged marriage by her father with a man who was a gambler and a cheat all because of her "bad reputation'. She had four children, one survived past age 5. Once she realized her husband was keeping company with other women and had used up her dowry gambling, she left him and supported herself and her child with her painting talent, an unheard of task for a woman of her time.

For more information on Artemisia go here;

To view her paintings go here;

What inspires you?

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