Monday, September 19, 2011

Monday History
Artemisia Gentileschi
Judith and Maidservant, 1625
The Power of Equality

We've come a long way in modern society, but image a time when men held a more prominent social status then women. The Baroque period (1600 - 1750) of art brought us some of the most dramatic paintings ever created. Lighting was the single most evident characteristic of the period, offing compositions that appear lit by candlelight with vibrant illumination in the points of emphasis. I could go on and on about how much I love the movement, but I'd like to introduce you to one of the most accomplished painters of that time: Artemisia Gentileschi.

Feel free to click the link above for the wiki version of what she was all about. I'd just like to refer back to my initial comment and offer you my thoughts. Women were not supposed to be well-known, accomplished artists at this time, in fact  I challenge you to find 5 more important women artists from the dawn of time to Impressionism. That's not to say that there weren't incredible women painters/ artists, but to be a famous artist, you pretty much had to be a dude.  With that said, Gentileschi was the exception to the rule, and thank goodness for that! Her story telling matched with dramatic compositions and amazing rendering ability made her work captivating to say the least. In Judith and Maidservant, you look past the dark undertones initially because Gentileschi's vibrant light source is captivating - but the story lies at the bottom of the painting. This is from a series of works that held a popular theme during the Baroque period - Judith beheading Holofernes. So what is happening here? How does this work compare to others created by Gentileschi? What other artists were of prominence during the Baroque period? All food for thought on this lovely fall morning.

Happy Monday!

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