Today I’m going to talk about a pretty cool lady. She was also the oldest child in her family, so I relate to her on that level.
Artemisia has a pretty cool background (she knew GALILEO). She was the first woman accepted into the Academy of Arts and Drawing (which, you know, it was the 1600s, so kind of a big deal). She liked to do violent paintings of women, including famously Judith Beheading Holofernes:
If you don’t know the story about Judith beheading Holofernes, it’s pretty great. Judith, a gorgeous Jewish widow, is fed up with her countrymen for not trusting God save them against the Assyrians. She straight up ingratiates herself with the Assyrian leader, waits until he’s super drunk, and CUTS HIS HEAD OFF. And she saves Israel.
I think you can get that from Artemisia’s painting. It’s clearly dark, but warmly lit. Judith looks pretty serious, but not disturbed, she’s just taking care of business. Artemesia liked to depict strong, somewhat violent women. Which is understandable because Artemesia not only survived being raped…but was also straight up tortured during the trial WITH THUMBSCREWS! I mean, according to Wikipedia, which….totally legit. Her rapist was sentenced…but never served time.
I can’t imagine (and she was young when this happened) as an artist being tortured…specifically on the hands, you know, which are kind of important. I mean, I know some people can use their mouth or feet (which is pretty awesome), but still.
She painted a lot of Biblical ladies, which is pretty cool. I really enjoy this one of Samson and Delilah mostly for Delilah’s facial expression. It’s all “I’m going to cut you” in a very serious way:
I won’t lie, I love these old paintings that depict Biblical stories or Greek mythology. They’re like the fanciest comic books. Pictures that legitimately are worth a thousand words. Possibly more.