The Detroit Institute of Arts pays tribute to Artemisia and the forgotten women artists

The Detroit Institute of Arts pays tribute to Artemisia and the forgotten women artists

The Detroit Institute of Arts pays tribute to Artemisia and the forgotten women artists

Artemisia Gentileschi — Judith and her Maid — 1625–27Giovanna Garzoni — A Hedgehog in a Landscape — 1643–1651

From 6 February to 29 May 2022, the Detroit Institute of Arts presents “By Her Hand: Artemisia Gentileschi and Women Artists in Italy, 1500–1800”, which examines the traditionally neglected role of women artists in Italy between the 16th and 18th centuries.

Images: Artemisia Gentileschi, “Judith and Her Maidservant with the Head of Holofernes” 1625–27 ·· Giovanna Garzoni, “A Hedgehog in a Landscape”, 1643–1651

Jointly organised by the Detroit Institute of Arts and the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford (previously on view from 30 September 2021 to 9 January 2022), the exhibition includes some 60 works, drawn from museums and collections around the world, created by 17 women artists of the Italian Renaissance and Baroque periods.

Despite the exhibition’s efforts to recover women painters who are today almost unknown to the general public, the main protagonist is, inevitably, Artemisia Gentileschi. Partly because over the last few decades, admiration for the figure of Artemisia Gentileschi has grown like that of no other painter before modernity. And largely because the Detroit Institute of Arts owns what is perhaps the most accomplished of all the painter’s works, “Judith and Her Maidservant with the Head of Holofernes”, a sensational masterpiece in which Gentileschi makes excellent use of Caravaggist tenebrism. Also included is a self-portrait of the painter, owned by the Wadsworth Atheneum, which acquired the painting in 2014 for a price of “less than $3 million” after the painting failed to find a buyer at a Christie’s auction, to which it came with an estimated pre-sale price of between $3 million and $5 million. In retrospect, the acquisition is one of the best made by a museum in the last decade.

Beyond Gentileschi, other notable artists included in the exhibition are Lavinia Fontana (1552–1614), arguably the best known of all artists behind Artemisia; the portraitist Sofonisba Anguissola (1532–1625); Fede Galizia (1578–1630), who specialised in the still-life genre; the prodigious painter and printmaker Elisabetta Sirani (1638–1665), who opened an academy for women painters and tragically died at the age of 27 under suspicion of poisoning; the enigmatic Giovanna Garzoni (1600–1670), who specialised in miniatures and still lifes; and Rosalba Carriera (1673–1757), a Venetian artist who specialised in pastel painting. #2022 #ArtemisiaGentileschi #theartwolf

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