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Mia Lenzenweger

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There are many Italian figures that are admirable and inspirational. Many of them have shown perseverance and strength in the face of adversity. A famous Italian painter, Artemisia Gentileschi, is the epitome of determination. She overcame trauma, sexism, and everyday struggles to become a notable artist. Artemisia turned these ugly experiences into amazing pieces of art that are revered by people from all walks of life. She is a person that I think about often when I debate my future goals.

Artemisia Gentileschi was born in the 16th century in Rome, Italy. Her father, Orazio Gentileschi, was a painter, and Artemisia would spend most of her time observing and helping him in his workshop. Orazio took notice to her interests in art and decided to hire a tutor to help her strengthen her skills. This tutor was Agostino Tassi. During the time of tutoring, Tassi raped Artemisia. Upon learning that Tassi had no plans on marrying Artemisia, Orazio pushed the crime to trial. Despite the amount of corroboration regarding Artemisia’s story, the court tortured her in an effort to catch her in a lie. Later, Tassi was found guilty.

Artemisia Gentileschi was able to channel her anger and frustration regarding the rape and reactions of males within her community into her art. She did so by portraying strong female subjects in her biblical paintings. Some of these female-positive works include Judith Slaying Holofernes, Mother and Child, and Judith and her Maidservant. Even though the women portrayed in these paintings have suffered and faced many challenges, they struggle on and their tenacity shines through. These painting have also served as a significant statement about the power of women among feminism movement. Many women have identified with the despair and sacrifices of the women portrayed in Artemisia’s work. She herself is admirable in that she was one of the only respected and notable female artists in Italy during this time and was the first woman accepted into the Accademia delle Arti del Disegno. She is an inspiration to many women around the world.

Artemisia was also able to advance and shift her art style as she pursued in her career. Her jarring depictions of biblical stories and women eventually developed into soft, elegant paintings. This is possibly a result of her healing from the trauma she endured. It shows that she is embracing herself and can grow as an artist. She is a role model for being able to captivate the feelings of women at different stages in their life through art. Artemisia had the ability to transcend past art community and make waves in ideological movements. Her influence is what makes her so notable and important within society.