The Passion of Artemisia

The Passion of Artemisia

Large Print - 2002 | Large print ed.
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Recently rediscovered by art historians, and one of the few female post-Renaissance painters to achieve fame during her own era, Artemisia Gentileschi led a remarkably "modern" life. Susan Vreeland tells Artemisia's captivating story, beginning with her public humiliation in a rape trial at the age of eighteen, and continuing through her father's betrayal, her marriage of convenience, motherhood, and growing fame as an artist. Set against the glorious backdrops of Rome, Florence, Genoa, and Naples, inhabited by historical characters such as Galileo and Cosimo de' Medici II, and filled with rich details about life as a seventeenth-century painter, Vreeland creates an inspiring story about one woman's lifelong struggle to reconcile career and family, passion and genius.
Publisher: Waterville, Me. : Thorndike Press, 2002.
Edition: Large print ed.
ISBN: 9780786238569
Branch Call Number: LT FIC VREELAND
Characteristics: 464 p. (large print) ; 23 cm.


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A well told story. I feel that the author pitched this to a young adult audience. As a mature reader the angst felt around the rape was somewhat shallow. Still, the difficulty of raising a daughter alone and of the betrayal of the woman as artist is the middle ages is a fascinating story and the juxtaposition of the life of the nuns who eschewed marriage provides some excellent material for thought.

WVMLStaffPicks Dec 23, 2014

The author of Girl in Hyacinth Blue offers us another luminous novel, this one about a woman’s passion for her art. The story is based on the life of post-renaissance painter Artemisia Gentileschi, the only woman to paint in the style of Caravaggio. At 18, Artemisia is raped by her art teacher and then publicly humiliated in a papal Roman court. In an attempt to salvage the family’s reputation, her father forces her into a loveless marriage with a Florentine painter. Artemisia must struggle against her husband’s jealousy of her talents, the strain of motherhood, and the chauvinism of the art world. Set against the great cities of Italy during a time of political and artistic upheaval we see a woman who dared to follow her heart and defy convention to forge her own place in history.


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