Subscribe to Art + Ideas:

“If anything, a sense of self, a sense of destiny, the fact that she belonged among the greats, was a defining mark of Artemisia’s personality.”

Artemisia Gentileschi was an acclaimed Baroque painter whose life was as compelling as her art. Born in Rome in 1593 to Prudenzia di Montone and the Tuscan painter Orazio Gentileschi, Artemesia lost her mother when she was 12, leaving her to help raise her three brothers. Her father took the unusual step of training her as a painter, though there were few opportunities for women artists at the time. But Artemisia proved to be a prodigy, producing the masterpiece Susanna and the Elders (1610) and receiving a commission for a portrait while still a teenager.

When Artemisia was 17, she was raped by Agostino Tassi, a painter her father knew. Tassi was ultimately found guilty, but the trial damaged Artemisia’s reputation. Nonetheless, she earned the respect of her peers and won royal commissions across Europe, becoming a much sought-after painter who worked in Venice, Florence, Rome, London, and Naples. She produced several renowned masterpieces, including the painting Lucretia (ca. 1635–45), which was recently rediscovered and acquired by the Getty. This work is a stunning example of Artemisia’s dramatic, naturalist style and her powerful portrayals of women.

In this episode, Sheila Barker, founding director of the Jane Fortune Research Program on Women Artists at the Medici Archive Project, discusses Artemisia’s extraordinary art and enduring legacy.

More to explore:

Lives of Artemisia Gentileschi buy the book
Artemisia Gentileschi buy the book

JIM CUNO: Hello, I’m Jim Cuno, president of the J. Paul Getty Trust. Welcome to Art and Ideas, a podcast in which I speak to artists, conservators, authors, and scholars about their work.

SHEILA BARKER: If anything, a sense of self, a sense of destiny, the fact that she belonged among t...

Music Credits
“The Dharma at Big Sur – Sri Moonshine and A New Day.” Music written by John Adams and licensed with permission from Hendon Music. (P) 2006 Nonesuch Records, Inc., Produced Under License From Nonesuch Records, Inc. ISRC: USNO10600825 & USNO10600824

Logo for Art Plus Ideas podcast
This post is part of Art + Ideas, a podcast in which Getty president Jim Cuno talks with artists, writers, curators, and scholars about their work.
See all posts in this series »