When Art has been a Woman, at last

08 Jul 18

Florence has been the environment in which Art, since the fourteenth century, has become the medium-expression of society. It is always in the ‘Town of Liry’ that the word Arte, as a feminine noun according to the Italian language acceptation, has assumed an additional value over time, because it is in its museums that Art – specifically Painting – has found an all-female formulation .

Artemisia Gentileschi, one of the first female painters of the whole history of art, came from Rome. She was welcomed in Florence and her art appreciated by the Grand Duke Ferdinando II, in a time when the world of Art had only the subjects as female.

In her canvas, preserved in the Uffizi Gallery, violence in the figure of the slaughtered Holofernes by the heroine Judith becomes a cathartic event.

The Caravaggio vocabulary of death and blood is used by Artemisia to “exorcise” the sexual abuse that unfortunately she, as a woman, was forced to suffer in an environment like that of the ateliers,  dominated by men. With her brush, Artemisia shaped and contoured  her existential space, bringing to completion a professional process that was a real social conquest; her painting was the opportunity to express hes intellectual depth, just as the heroine Judith overcame the enemy. It is a victory obtained, as in them michelangelesque counterpart, thanks to the intellect and not with physical force or seductive weapons.

The painter was born on July 8th, 1593. Happy Birthday Artemisia!


Michele Busillo

Tour Guide of Florence and Siena

This post was written by Michele Busillo