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The Trials of Artemisia Gentileschi: A Rape as History Essay

This reading is about Artemisia Gentileschi and her stuggle through life as a female painter. Her father was a painter and she learned all of her skills through him. At this time in history it was very rare to find a female artist. Because Artemisia was raped at a very young point in her career, she did a lot of works dealing with women power. She would paint scenes of strong women from the Bible and other parts of history to demonstrate women. During the 17th century people were curious of her work because of her personal story and also because she provided a woman’s point of view in thinking. Today she is known as one of the most progressive and expressionist painter of her generation.

The author starts out the reading by providing us with a little background about Artemisia. After that, then they provide examinations of some samples from the literature. One of these passages says, “At one time she wished to be the wife of a painter, but she was saved from this fate against her own will. The retired life of women was an impossibility for her and so she lived aggressive, independent and exposed, forcing herself into postures of self-promotion, facing down gossip, and working, working with a seriousness that few other women ever permitted themselves to feel.”

I think that the fact that Artemisia was raped in a horrible thing, but it gave her so much more purpose and meaning towards life. She was able to express herself through painting and show everyone how she felt about men and life in general. Not only were the painting important to Artemisia, but also it provided perspectives of several witnesses.

Then we see the author starts to pay more attention to Artemisia herself and look more in depth at her words and actions. After the rape incident, Artemisia responds with painting. Her work is so powerful and moving that people do not believe that a woman has painted anything like this. After her death her reputation only strengthens. We find the legend has three sources. We understand Artemisia’s story because of the record of the rape trial, the tradition of writing about Artemisa, and her painting especially their themes and bodily sensuality.

During this time, it was imperative to document things using art. Art was the only way people could keep things for a really long time. It is expressive and provides us with a deeper understanding of what happened and the brutality of the painting. We can also gage how Artemisia felt about the issue as well. It is a lot easier to visually analyze something that has already shown you a visual image so people were about to understand her story easier. Artemisia was a strong, independent woman and she deserves recognition for her works. She not only provided hope to female artists but also was able to demonstrate a horrible act through her paintings, giving hope to more women.


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