Artist Spotlight: Artemisia Gentileschi
By Sophia Tsiolis
Artemisia Gentileschi may not be a name you recognize when it comes to the great painters of history, but she has become known in the art community as one of the most accomplished Baroque painters of the 17th century. A feat very difficult to achieve for a woman given the rampant sexism of misogyny of the time. She is best known for her oil painting of “Judith Slaying Holofernes''. Like many of Gentileschi works “Judith Slaying Holofernes” was a bloody and violent piece, and at the time it was not seen as proper for a lady of the times to be painting such things. However, that is exactly why Gentileschi did so. She was a fierce femminist who used her art to not only critique but also expose the dark and sexist side of the society she lived in. Many of her pieces like “Judith Slaying Holofernes'' are not considered to be school appropriate, due to their graphic nature. However it was this graphicness that helped Gentileschi gain notoriety in her time. In fact, she gained so much notoriety, that she was the first female to ever be granted membership to the Academy of the Arts of Drawing in 1616, at the age of 23. Despite a traumatic upbringing, she managed to become not only an accomplished independent artist, but also a caring mother of five children. Her art was her way of expressing not only her feeling towards her past, but towards the impending patriarchy that plagues society even today.