Artemisia Gentileschi was an artist ahead of her time.
She was the first female painter who became a member of Accademia di Arte del Disegno in Florence, a major success at that time when art studies (or any other studies) were inaccessible to women. She paved the way for future female artists.
Her artistry depicted strong women protagonists often inspired by the characters from the Bible.
In the patriarchal society with male-dominated values, women portrayed by Gentileschi appeared as unorthodox, transgressing the stereotypes of gender roles, featuring strong, vigorous women, warriors or victims, but never delicate, idealized, sensual figures.
Her empowered female protagonists, familiar to blood and violence, are often interpreted, like her oeuvre in whole, as a revenge for the rape and traumatic experience she survived.
Its believed that she painted her rapist, one of her father’s assistants – Agostino Tassi- as Holofernes in “Judith beheading Holofernes”
This is one of my all time favourites biblical themes. In the story, Holofernes is about to destroy Judith’s home city of Bethulia, but she uses her beauty to gain access to the general’s tent, and decapitates him after getting him helplessly drunk.
This picture shows the women triumphing over tyrannical men. As Amanda Vickery said about another Artemisia’s artwork of the same theme “It shows female unity of purpose and bravery. It says in the strongest way possible: Men don´t have the monopoly of courage”