Judith and Maidservant with the Head of Holofernes Essays

Judith and Maidservant with the Head of Holofernes Essays

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I had never heard of the artist Artemisia Gentileschi before this introductory Art course. Of all the paintings and sculptures found within the book, it was her work that stood out and spoke to me. "Judith and Maidservant with the head of Holofernes" is a particularly rich oil painting by the Italian Gentileschi, painted circa 1625 Europe. Her large canvas measures 72 and 1/2 inches by 55 and 3/4 inches and began as a biblical story telling inspiration come to life within the oil. Located at the Detroit Institute of Arts, the painting was a gift to the institute from Art collector Mr. Leslie H. Green in 1952. Artemisia was the daughter of a painter (and caravaggio influenced) Orazio Gentileschi, she was also the wife of little known artist Pierantonio Stiattesi. Artemisia had four sons and one daughter during her marriage. A student of the Chiaroscuro technique and during a time when women were not believed capable of painting competitively and intelligently as the men of the day. Artemisia proved them wrong with stunning work and artistry over her artistic career.

Artemisia Gentileschi was born July 8th 1593 in Rome Italy and quickly followed in her father's footsteps as an artist, and certainly under his tutelage. However Artemisia also had many problems as an painter of the day. First off, she was female and females (including their work) were not easily accepted during the time, though there were several before her, including renowned renaissance painter Sofonisba Anguissola. Understandably much of her work leaned toward the suffrage of women but showing them in a very powerful, protagonistic, untypical setting. Her teen years unfortunately help refine her as an artist of picturesque suffrage, as she herself was raped as a...

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...rious image styles and portraits of Mary Magdalen, Cleopatra and other religious and pertinent figures of the day. Her work reflects honesty, homage, technique and her storytelling ability. Her paintings also show she did her homework and researched her subjects. Historically, some of her early work has been debatable as to who the actual painter was for some pieces (her or her father), however Artemisia is certainly one of the most accomplished, accepted, and celebrated painters of her time.


Sayre, Henry M. A World of Art. Seventh edition, N.J.: Person/Prentice Hall, 2013

Web sites




COCC on-line Library

BYRNE, LOUIS. Art Book. May2006, Vol. 13 Issue 2, p33-35. 3p. PDF

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