Artemisia Gentileschi is a new name for me, sort of. I know I didn’t study her paintings when I was in high school, and that I found out about her a few years ago, thanks to a Tumblr post. I’m sure I have it saved somewhere because it was interesting: it talked about Susanna and the Elders, about how the original drawing was more vivid, harsher.

Now I can’t remember if the last version was painted over the previous one or what, but I studied the composition for a while. Gentileschi sense of movement—of life?—is impressive. 


The life of Artemisia Gentileschi (1593–after 1654) was as exceptional as her paintings. She was a child prodigy, raised without a mother by her artist father, a follower of Caravaggio. Although she learned to paint under her father, she became an artist against his wishes. Later, as she moved between Florence, Rome, Venice, Naples, and London, her artistic style evolved, but throughout her career she specialized in large-scale, powerful, nuanced portrayals of women. This book highlights Gentileschi’s enterprising and original engagement with emerging feminist notions of the value and dignity of womanhood.
Sheila Barker’s cutting-edge scholarship in Artemisia Gentileschi clears a pathway for all audiences to appreciate the artist’s pictorial intelligence, as well as her achievement of a remarkably lucrative and high-profile career at a time when few women were artists. Bringing to light newly attributed paintings and archival discoveries, this is the first biography to be written by an authority on Gentileschi since 1999.
The volume is beautifully illustrated, and Barker weaves this extraordinary story with in-depth discussions of key artworks, such as Susanna and the Elders (1610), Judith Beheading Holofernes (c.1619–20), and Lot and His Daughters (1640–45). Also included is the J. Paul Getty Museum’s recent acquisition, Lucretia (c.1635–45). Through such works, Barker explores the evolution of Gentileschi’s expressive goals and techniques.

144 pages
Biography, nonfiction
Getty Publishing


Cover: Oh. Hm. Good painting choice, but the left stripe ruins it. A different font and a different color, sans stripe, would have worked better. 


Special mention:



4 stars on GR.

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