Monday Lectures

11 January 2021

Artemisia Gentileschi at the National Gallery, London

Artemisia Gentileschi, Self Portrait as Saint Catherine of Alexandria, c.1615-17, National Gallery, London

In 17th-century Europe, at a time when women artists were not easily accepted, Artemisia was exceptional. She challenged conventions and defied expectations to become a successful artist and one of the great storytellers of her time.


In this first major exhibition of Artemisia’s work in the UK, are displayed her best-known paintings including two versions of her iconic Judith beheading Holofernes; as well as her self-portraits, heroines from history and the Bible, and recently discovered personal letters.


According to the curators of the exhibition, “Artemisia painted subjects that were traditionally the preserve of male artists and for the male gaze; transforming meek maidservants into courageous conspirators and victims into survivors.”



We will follow her extremely successful career which beginning in Rome took her to Florence, Venice, Naples and, briefly, to the artistically blossoming London of Charles I. We will compare her paintings to those of her talented father, Orazio Gentileschi, to the other great Roman painter who inspired her early style - Michelangelo Caravaggio - and we will see what in particular distinguished her style and thematic interpretations from those of her male colleagues of the early Baroque age.

Artemisia Gentileschi, Danaë, c. 1612-13

Saint Louis Art Museum