Monday, 19 June 2017 20:41

Artemisia Gentileschi, leading female painter and female rights leader

Written by
Rate this item
(0 votes)

By Francesco Carelli , University of Milan

Two women are holding a man down on a bed. One presses her fist against his head, so he can’t raise it from the mattress, while her companion pins his torso in place. They are well-built with powerful arms but even so it takes their combined strength to keep their victim immobilised as one of them cuts through his throat with a sword. Blood spurts from deep red geysers as she saws. Her victim’s eyes are wide open. He knows exactly what is happening to him.

artemisia

The dying man is Holofernes, an enemy of the Israelites in the Old Testament, and the young woman beheading him is Judith, his divinely appointed assassin. Yet at the same time he is also an Italian painter called Agostino Tassi, while the woman with the sword is Artemisia Gentileschi, who painted this. It is, effectively, a self-portrait.

Two big, blood-drenched paintings of Judith and Holofernes by Gentileschi survive, one in the Capodimonte in Naples, the other in the Uffizi in Florence. They are almost identical except for small details – in Naples Judith’s dress is blue, in Florence yellow – as if this image was a nightmare she kept having, the final act to a tragedy endlessly replaying in her head.

With words and images, she fought back against the male violence that dominated her world.PreviousNext

Artemisia Gentileschi, presented at National Gallery in London, is probably one of the most famous female painters from the 17th century and perhaps one of the most celebrated painters of the generation after Caravaggio. This Italian painter is one of the first female artists to gain recognition in the Baroque era and she is definitely one of the most discussed figures from the 17th century today, not only because of her artistic accomplishments but also for controversies which followed her life. She was definitely one of those artists ahead of her time and her work and biography were featured in many recent publications, although it is sometimes difficult to make a distinction between facts about Artemisia Gentileschi and those fictional elements and mythical narratives woven around her personality. She was one of the first female artists to stand up for women’s rights and to prepare the way for future feminist authors. With words and images, she fought back against the male violence that dominated her world.PreviousNext

Artemisia Gentileschi was born in Rome in the last decade of 16th century. She was the daughter of a notable painter Orazio Gentileschi, highly influenced by the Caravaggio painting style which became the dominant in the Artemisia’s work as well, in her highly naturalistic portrayal of figures, dramatic scenes and the use of chiaroscuro technique. She was the first female painter who became a member of Accademia di Arte del Disegno in Florence and it was a major success at that time when art studies were inaccessible to women. With her highly distinguishable style, she quickly gained praise among her contemporaries but throughout the history her artistic achievements were usually overshadowed by her rape trauma and the prosecution which followed. In those centuries after her death, she became a feminist legend. Her success as a woman painter, and early women empowerment tendencies in her works, were often emphasized more than the artistic quality and aesthetic value of her paintings.

 When it comes to the artistry of Artemisia Gentileschi the first associations are those 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. Often violent scenes depicted by Gentileschi feature 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. Agostino Tassi, the man responsible for the sexual assault was a colleague of her father Orazio and the tutor of Artemisia. He was imprisoned twice for similar crimes, before he was prosecuted by Artemisia’s father. This incident later became the crucial point of view when it comes to the understanding of Gentileschi’s oeuvre and it also initiated the feminist view of her artistic practice.

Until the last couple of decades, Artemisia Gentileschi was seen as a curiosity rather than anything else. Her life, including rape trauma, trial, and forced marriage came to be the often explored themes in many fictional and non-fictional works. She was a friend of Galileo Galilei as they both had connections to the Grand Ducal Court in Florence and were members of the Academia del Disegno.

 Although Artemisia’s art was neglected and forgotten after her death and two centuries had to pass before the rediscovery of her oeuvre, the historical and artistic significance of Artemisia Gentileschi cannot be denied. After all, she was one of the leading painters of her time, confident and self-conscious about her personal life and her artistry. But it isn’t until recently that she became one of the most important feminist role-models, person portrayed in many popular works of novelists and filmmakers, and recognized outside the closed circles of scholars and art historians.

Almost every household has an unsolved Rubiks Cube but you can easily solve it learning a few algorithms.

Read 240 times

Size Matters - could small be better?Francesco Carelli, MD, MSc, Professor of Clinical Medicine and Elective Courses Family Medicine, University in Milan and in Roma, EURACT Director of Communications, Italy 

TheSynapse Videos

0
0
0
0
0
0

Jamesco News

Has no content to show!

GSK

Vivian

TheSynapse Magazines

Latest news

Highlights

  • Postgrad course on exercise as medicine is being proposed

    Dear prospective applicant,

    A proposal for a postgrad course on physical activity (PA) as a therapy for non-communicable diseases is currently being evaluated. Hereunder, a two-question survey is being forwarded for your attention in order to assess whether the idea sounds appealable or not.

    Proposed award

    M.Sc in Therapeutic Physical Activity (TPA), with postgrad certificate (PgC) and postgrad diploma (PgD) exit routes

    Proposed specialisation titles[1]

    Holders of PgC, TPA can claim the title of: ‘Clinical exercise prescriber’.

    Holders of PgD, TPA can claim the titles of: ‘Advanced exercise prescriber’ or ‘Clinical and public health exercise prescriber’.

    Holders of M.Sc, TPA can claim the title of: ‘Physical activity - health specialist’.

    Are you sure you know why physical activity is so important?

    Everyone is aware that physical inactivity is a major health concern but, do you know that through the right type of exercise you can prevent or treat at least 35 chronic conditions? In 2007 the American College of Sports Medicine officially declared an important statement: ‘Exercise is medicine’. Moreover, health-enhancing physical activity (HEPA) is important in today’s world not only in view of improving health and wellbeing but also for its economic values. For example, a lifestyle intervention involving 150 minutes of weekly PA was scientifically shown to be significantly more effective than the administration of metformin.

    Possibilities of further career development in exercise prescription

    Exercise prescription, that is, being qualified to professionally recommend the right type of exercise for health does not stop on a one-to-one basis. Do you think you are qualified to: (a) conduct research on PA interventions, and (b) develop, implement and evaluate community or population programmes involving PA strategies? Unfortunately, many wide-scale programmes that are implemented undergo no evaluation to determine how they have worked or what their effects may be. Have you ever imagined the possibility of attending a tertiary course which would be designed to: (a) give you the ability to design a project for the generation of new knowledge and be able to publish it internationally, or (b) train you on how to evaluate wide-scale interventions and how to apply strategies to sustain their continuities?


    A glimpse of the proposed programme of studies

    Intended for:

    The programme of studies is aimed at a wide and diverse cohort of students wishing to pursue any careers in HEPA sectors mainly: exercise prescription; health promotion (policies and practice); general health and fitness industry; and to further their studies (e.g. PhD). It can also serve as an adjunct to enrich one’s knowledge of his / her established profession or career. Examples include: medical practitioners; pharmacists; nurses; physiotherapists; nutritionists; public health specialists; sport medicine specialists; sport psychologists; teachers of physical education (PE); coaches; gym instructors; and personal trainers. Fitness and sport enthusiasts are also encouraged to apply.

    Duration:

    Three years part-time leading to an M.Sc in PA as an effective therapy, with postgrad certificate and postgrad diploma exit routes after the first and second years respectively.

    Mode of delivery:

    Seventy per cent will be delivered online and the rest of the thought units will be offered on a once weekly two-hour evening basis starting at 18.00hrs.

    Admission criteria:

    You should provide evidence of higher educational qualification(s) - normally, a diploma or a degree related to health and / or PA / sport. An award in PE is also ideal. Mature students without these basic qualifications would be required to present evidence of experience related to PA and health.

    Mode of assessment:

    Units will be assessed through the submission of coursework. These will vary from short assessments to long essays. If you would like to progress at Masters’ level, a traditional dissertation or paper in the format for journal publication and a final presentation (in the form of slides or poster) of your research findings will have to be undertaken.

    Round-up

    Unlike other under- and postgrad courses which only cover a fraction from the whole science of HEPA, this comprehensive programme of studies would lead to a specialization specifically on TPA. For careers in promotion, prescription and research of PA, the proposed programme of studies is a must.

    Important notice

    All the above information is subject to change and would eventually have to be approved by the Programme Validation Committee of the University of Malta. Needless to say, your feedback in the next two questions is extremely important.

    Yours in health & exercise,

    Charles Micallef B.Pharm (Hons), M.Sc PAPH (Staff)                                                8th August 2017

    The two questions hereunder.

    1. In view of the above information, would you be interested in applying for this particular postgrad course leading to a specialisation in physical activity with respect to health, that is, a qualification that gives you the right to prescribe exercise for health, even at population levels?

    Yes or No: 

    1. What would you change from or suggest to what is being proposed?

    Please state your name & surname:

    Your current job / profession:

    Please save your changes and forward your reply to Charles Micallef on: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Your cooperation is greatly appreciated.


    [1] In order to professionally recommend exercise for health, you may need to be registered in the appropriate regulatory board and be in possession of a warrant to operate with the respective titles.

    University of Malta

    Written on August 19, 2017
  • Take up the Creative Challenge and win with Servier!

    servier challenge

     

    Interested in helping us explain to patients the pathophysiology of Chronic Venous Disease whilst also learning more about it  yourself? Join the group by clicking the link below for further info!

    Written on April 27, 2017 Read more...

Links

Join

Connect with other Medical Professionals on fb in a closed facebook group

Login

Template Settings

Theme Colors

Cyan Red Green Oranges Teal

Layout

Wide Boxed Framed Rounded
Patterns for Layour: Boxed, Framed, Rounded
Top
We use cookies to improve our website. By continuing to use this website, you are giving consent to cookies being used. More details…