The Influence of Artemisia Gentileschi’s Self-Portraits

Introduction to Artemisia Gentileschi’s heritage

  • a famous Italian artist of the Baroque period
  • numerous debates over her works
  • considered a talented and professional artist
  • often treated as a mediocre painter
  • self-portraits as a significant part of her artistic heritage
  • self-portraits popular among feminist supporters
  • impact of self-portraits on the feminist movement

Life of Artemisia Gentileschi

  • Born in Rome in 1593
  • Lost mother at a very young age
  • Impact of mother’s death on her life
  • Brought up by the father-painter
  • Raped as a teenager, my father’s colleague
  • a first female member of Accademia di Arte del Disegno (Florence)

Style of Artemisia Gentileschi’s artworks

  • influenced by the style of Caravaggio
  • portraits characterized with the naturalism of figures
  • typically dramatic scenes
  • prevalent application of chiaroscuro technique
  • no specific art education
  • impact of the rape trauma (Dačić, 2015).

Evaluation of Artemisia’s early works, Florentine period

  • Evident evolution of the art of painting
  • Self-portraits of high-level skill
  • Revolutionary perceptions formed by the social environment
  • Representations of revolutionary perceptions in paintings
  • Concentration on women’s inner strength
  • of her early works: Judith and Her Maidservant (Endres, 2013).

Themes and plots in works of Artemisia Gentileschi

  • Frequent use of biblical subjects
  • the theme of a strong and confident woman
  • Heroic and strong female characters
  • Paintings driven by artist’s memory
  • Representation of a female protagonist
  • Implementation of vision of women in self-portraits

Self-portraits as representations of an artist

  • Few self-portraits remained safe
  • The popular image of a female artist
  • Woman with Lute, Female Martyr – examples of self-perception
  • Protest against male domination in art

Self-Portrait as the Allegory of Painting is – depiction of Artemisia

  • The theme of the invisible painting
  • Natural, restrained manner of the depiction of herself
  • Emphasis on the creation of a piece of art
  • Demonstration of a protest against gender stereotype
  • Creation of revolutionary canvas depicting female artists
  • The challenge to a public familiar with male artists

Woman with Lute and Female Martyr

  • Depiction of a female artist – musician
  • Attention to the confidence of a musician
  • Demonstration of the experience of the artist
  • Appeal to women’s sacrificial mature
  • Representation of traditional feminine features
  • Bright colors, soft shades, and natural curves

Venetian period of artistic work

  • The significant impact of Caravaggio’s heritage
  • Influence of a classic manner typical of the 17th century
  • Less intensive artistic work
  • Works: The Sleeping Venus, Esther, and Ahasuerus

Naples period of artistic life

  • It covers the second part of Gentileschi’s career
  • More grace and self-consciousness in works
  • The impact of the artist’s recognition
  • Absence of need for competition with male colleagues
  • Period of maturation and important works
  • Works: Virgin and Child with a Rosary, Susanna and the elders (Dačić, 2015).

Role of Artemisia Gentileschi in the feminist movement

  • Establishment of women’s liberation movement
  • Success as an artist significant for feminism
  • Feminist interpretation of her self-portraits
  • Protest against traditional male dominance in art
  • The image of a rebellious woman
  • Depiction of a female able to overcome obstacles (Conn, 2015)


  • Prominent impact on the contemporary feminist community
  • Significance of self-portraits
  • Innovative approaches and ideas
  • Impact on the history of art
  • Ideas continued by supporters and followers.


Conn, Virginia L. (2015). The personal is the political: Artemisia Gentileschi’s revolutionary Self-Portrait as the Allegory of Painting. Kaleidoscope, 8(1), 6.

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Dačić, A. (2015). Artemisia Gentileschi – From facts and fiction to feminist inspiration. Web.

Endres, A. L. (2013). Painting Lucretia: Fear and desire a feminist discourse on representations by Artemisia Gentileschi and Tintoretto (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

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StudyCorgi. (2021) 'The Influence of Artemisia Gentileschi’s Self-Portraits'. 24 March.

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