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Gentileschi, Artemisa

Rome, 1593 - Naples, 1652/3

This Italian painter learned art from her father, the artist Orazio Gentileschi, whose influence is particularly evident in her early works. Following a period in Florence (1614-1620), se settled in Rome, where she lived between 1620 and 1627, with brief visits to Genoa and Venice. By 1630 she was living in Naples, with her own studio and continuous contact with Stanzione. There, she develop her most fecund work, becoming one of the city’s most important artists and strongly influencing the Neapolitan art scene -especially Finoglia, Cavallino and Stanzione himself. In 1638-1639, she temporarily left Naples to visit her father in London. She continued painting there, and her work for the English nobility is known. Her first signed and dated work -a Susanna and the Elders from 1610, when she was only seventeen years old- already reveals two concerns that were frequent in her painting: the representation of heroines and female nudes. Frequent travel offered her extraordinary opportunities to learn and judge both contemporaneous painting and the finest works from the previous century. She had been trained in a Caravaggism softened by her father, whose elegance she also absorbed, although her own work shows a fondness for more dramatic tones that those of Caravaggio. She also enjoyed using chromatic and luminous tonalities in a manner previously unexplored by the Caravaggists. This made her a leading protagonist in the metamorphosis of Neapolitan painting over the course of the 1630s, a decade that began with the strictest naturalism and shifted towards a growing appreciation of neo-Venetian atmospheric and chromatic values (García López, D. in Enciclopedia del Museo del Prado, 2006, vol. IV, pp. 1148-1149).

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