Saturday, April 24, 2010

Gaudenzio Ferrari, Crucifixion, 1515-20

Gaudenzio Ferrari (c. 1471 – January 11, 1546) was a Northern Italian painter and sculptor of the Renaissance.



[edit] Biography

Gaudenzio was born at Valduggia in the Valsesia in the Duchy of Milan.Valduggia is now in the Province of Vercelli in Piedmont. He is said to have first learned the art of painting at Vercelli from Gerolamo Giovenone. He subsequently studied in Milan, in the school of the Cathedral artisan Stefano Scotto, and perhaps also in that of Bernardino Luini; towards 1504 he proceeded to Florence. It was once thought that he later moved to Rome. He died in Milan.

Gaudenzio was not related to Defendente Ferrari (c1490-1535) a painter from Chivasso, nor to Eusebio Ferrari (1508-33) the painter from Vercelli.

[edit] Mature Work

His initial pictorial style may be considered as derived mainly from the old Milanese school, which had imbibed the classic influence of Leonardo and pupils such as Bramantino. However, the provincial impetus was also strong, as is demonstrated in his emotive work at the Sacro Monte of Varallo.

Gaudenzio Ferrari, Crucifixion, 1513, fresco, Santa Maria delle Grazie, Varallo Sesia

By 1513, Gaudenzio had depicted the Life of Christ in a fresco at Santa Maria della Grazie in Varallo Sesia. He returned to work in the chapels of the Sacro Monte di Varallo by 1524. The chapels are dispersed over a hilltop sanctuary, connected by a winding path, and containing a combination of diorama and wax museum[1] with life-size terracotta figures[2]. He executed his most memorable work, a fresco of the Crucifixion (pictured right), with a multitude of figures, no less than twenty-six of them being modelled in actual relief, and colored; on the vaulted ceiling are lamenting angels. The figures include goitrous bestial assailants [3].

There are other works which show flashes of innovation such as the crowded chorus decorating duomo of Santa Maria dei Miracoli in Saronno or his fresco of St Anne[4]. This painting shows the overlap of Milanese realism and Venetian colorism.

He was a very prolific painter, distinguished by strong animation. In general character, his work suggests more the 15th than the 16th century. His subjects were always religious. Andrea Solario, Giovanni Battista Cerva, Gian Paolo Lomazzo, and Fermo Stella were his principal students

De Donati Brothers, Last Supper, (sculptures, late 15th c) with later additions

Veronese, Feast in the House of Levi, from the refectory or the Dominican Monastery of Santi Giovanni e Paolo, Venice, 1573.

The Feast in the House of Levi is a 1573 painting by Italian painter Paolo Veronese and one of the largest canvases of the 16th century measuring 555 x 1280 cm. It is currently on display at the Gallerie dell'Accademia, in Venice.

It was painted by Veronese for the Dominican order of SS. Giovanni Paolo to replace an earlier work by Titian destroyed in the fire of 1571.

However the painting led to an investigation by the Roman Catholic Inquisition. Paolo Veronese was called to answer for irreverence, and was accused of the serious indictment of heresy. He had originally named the painting the Lord's Last Supper, meaning the last meal that Christ had shared with Saint Matthew which was seen as derogatory towards The Last Supper story of the Bible. Veronese however was not charged but was forced to rename the painting as The Feast in the House of Levi.[1]

The painting depicts a banquet scene in which the tall figure of Christ is depicted in the centre in a shimmering pale green robe and the surrounding people interact in a turbulence of polychromatic splendour at a whole diversity of different positions and poses.

The great meal is framed by the great pillars and archways of a portico and a staircase to the right.

Il Gesù, Rome: Giacomo Barozzi (Vignola), project begun in 1550, building began 1568; Giacomo della Porta, façade, completed 1584

Gesu" redirects here. For other uses, see Gesu (disambiguation).

The Church of the Gesù (Italian: Chiesa del Gesù ; Italian pronunciation: [dʒeˈzu]) is the mother church of the Society of Jesus, a Roman Catholic religious order also known as the Jesuits. Officially named Chiesa del Santissimo Nome di Gesù all'Argentina[1][2] (English: Church of the Most Holy Name of Jesus), its facade is "the first truly baroque façade"[3]. The church served as model for innumerable Jesuit churches all over the world, especially in the Americas. The Church of the Gesù is located in the Piazza del Gesù in Rome.

First conceived in 1551 by Saint Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits Society of Jesus, and active during the Protestant Reformation and the subsequent Catholic Reformation, the Gesù was also the home of the Superior General of the Society of Jesus until the suppression of the order in 1773.[4]

Although Michelangelo, at the request of the Spanish cardinal Bartolomeo de la Cueva, offered, out of devotion, to design the church for free, the endeavor was funded by Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, grandson of Pope Paul III, who had authorized the founding of the Society of Jesus. Ultimately, the main architects involved in the construction were Giacomo Barozzi da Vignola, architect of the Farnese family, and Giacomo della Porta. Construction of the church began on 26 June 1568 to Vignola's design. Vignola was assisted by the Jesuit Giovanni Tristano, who took over from Vignola in 1571. When he died in 1575 he was succeeded by the Jesuit architect Giovanni de Rosis.. Giacoma della Porta was involved in the construction of the cross-vault, dome, and the apse.

The revision of Vignola's façade design by della Porta has offered architectural historians opportunities for a close comparison between Vignola's balanced composition in three superimposed planes and Della Porta's dynamically fused tension bound by its strong vertical elements, contrasts that have sharpened architectural historians' perceptions for the last century (Whitman 1970:108). Vignola's rejected design remained readily available to architects and prospective patrons in an engraving of 1573.

The design of this church has set a pattern for Jesuit churches that lasted into the twentieth century, its innovations require enumerating. The Jesuit Mother Church was built according to the new requirements formulated during the Council of Trent. There is no narthex in which to linger: the visitor is projected immediately into the body of the church, a single nave without aisles, so that the congregation is assembled and attention is focused on the high altar. In place of aisles there are a series of identical interconnecting chapels behind arched openings,[5] to which entrance is controlled by decorative balustrades with gates. Transepts are reduced to stubs that emphasize the altars of their end walls.

The plan synthesizes the central planning of the High Renaissance,[6] expressed by the grand scale of the dome and the prominent piers of the crossing, with the extended nave that had been characteristic of the preaching churches, a type of church established by Franciscans and Dominicans since the thirteenth century. Everywhere inlaid polychrome marble revetments are relieved by gilding, frescoed barrel vaults enrich the ceiling and rhetorical white stucco and marble sculptures break out of their tectonic framing. The example of the Gesù did not completely eliminate the traditional basilica church with aisles, but after its example was set, experiments in Baroque church floor plans, oval or Greek cross, were largely confined to smaller churches and chapels.

The Church of the Gesù is home to the venerated 15th-century Madonna Della Strada shown here prior to its 2006 restoration.

The church was consecrated by Cardinal Giulio Antonio Santori, the delegate of pope Gregory XIII on 25 November 1584.

[edit] Interior decoration


The present high altar, designed by Antonio Sarti (1797-1880), was constructed towards the middle of the 19th century. It is dominated by four columns under a neo-classical pediment. Sarti also covered the apse with marble and made the drawings of the tabernacle. The angels surrounding the IHS aureole were sculpted by Rinaldo Rinaldi (1793-1873). The two angels kneeling at each side of the aureole are the work of Francesco Benaglia and Filippo Gnaccarini (1804-1875). The altarpiece, representing the "Circumcision", was painted by Alessandro Capalti (1810-1868). The ceiling of the apse is adorned by the painting "Glory of the Mystical Lamb" by Baciccia (Giovanni Battista Gaulli).

The most striking feature of the interior decoration is the ceiling fresco is the grandiose Triumph of the Name of Jesus by Giovanni Battista Gaulli. Gaulli also frescoed the cupola, including lantern and pendentives, central vault, window recesses, and transepts' ceilings.

The first chapel to the right of the nave is the Cappella di Sant'Andrea, so named because the church previously on the site, which had to be demolished to make way for the Jesuit church, was dedicated to St. Andrew. All the painted works were completed by the Florentine Agostino Ciampelli. The frescoes on the arches depict the male martyrs saints Pancrazio, Celso, Vito, and Agapito, while the pilasters depict the female martyred saints Cristina, Margherita, Anastasia, Cecilia, Lucy, and Agatha. The ceiling is frescoed with the Glory of the Virgin surrounded by martyred saints Clemente, Ignazio di Antiochia, Cipriano, and Policarpo The lunettes are frescoed with Saints Agnes & Lucy face the storm and St. Stephen and the Deacon St. Lawrence. The altarpiece depicts the Martyrdom of St Andrew.

The second chapel to the right is the Cappella della Passione, with lunette frescoes depicting scenes of the Passion: Jesus in Gethsemane, Kiss of Judas, and six canvases on the pilasters: Christ at the column Christ before the guards, Christ before Herod, Ecce Homo, Exit to Calvary, and Crucifixion. The altarpiece of the Madonna with child and beatified Jesuits, replaces the original altarpiece by Scipione Pulzone.[7] The program of paintings is indepted to Giuseppe Valeriani and painted by Gaspare Celio. The altar has a bronze urn with the remains of 18th century Jesuit St. Giuseppe Pignatelli, canonized by Pius XII in 1954. Medals on the wall commemorate P. Jan Roothaan (1785-1853) and P. Pedro Arrupe (1907-1991), the 21st and 28th Superior General of the Society of Jesus.

The third chapel to the right is the Cappella degli Angeli has a ceiling fresco of the Coronation of Virgin and altarpiece of Angels worshiping Trinity by Federico Zuccari. He also painted the canvases on the walls, Defeat of rebel angels on right, and Angels liberate souls from Purgatory on the left. Other frescoes represent Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory. The angles in the niches of the pilasters were completed by both Silla Longhi and Flaminio Vacca.

The larger Saint Francis Xavier Chapel in the right transept, was designed by Pietro da Cortona, originally commissioned by cardinal Giovanni Francesco Negroni. The polychromatic marbles enclose a stucco relief representing Francis Xavier welcomed to heaven by angels. The altarpiece shows the Death of Francis Xavier in Shangchuan Island by Carlo Maratta. The arches are decorated with scenes from the life of the saint, including Apotheosis of the saint in the center, Crucifixion, Saint lost at sea, and at left, Baptism of an Indian princess, by Giovanni Andrea Carlone. The silver reliquary conserves part of the saint's right arm (by which he baptized 300,000 people), his other remains are interred in the Jesuit church in Goa.

The last chapel on the far end of the nave, to the right of the high altar, is the chapel of the Sacro Cuore (holy heart of Jesus).

The sacristy is on the right. In the presbytery is a bust of Cardinal Robert Bellarmine by Bernini.

The abbreviated transepts function as grand chapels: Chapel of St, Ignatius

The first chapel to the left, originally dedicated to the apostles, is now the Cappella di San Francesco Borgia, the former Spanish Duke of Gandia, who renounced his title to enter the Jesuit order, and become its third "Preposito generale". The altarpiece, Saint Francesco Borgia in Prayer by Pozzo, is surrounded by works by Gagliardi. Ceiling frescoes of (Pentecost) and lunettes (left Martyrdom of St. Peter, to sides Faith and Hope and right, Martyrdom of St. Paul with allegorical Religion and Charity are works Nicolò Circignani (Il Pomarancio). Pier Francesco Mola painted the walls, on left with St. Peter in jail baptizes saints Processo & Martiniano, to right is the Conversion of St. Paul. There are four monuments by Marchesi Ferrari.

The second chapel on the left is dedicated to the Nativity, and called Cappella della Sacra Famiglia, commissioned by patron Cardinal Cerri, who worked for the Barberini family. The altarpiece of the nativity by Circignani. In the roof, the Celestial celebration on the nativity of Christ, on the pinnacles are David, Isaiah, Zechariah and Baruch, on the right lunette, an Annunciation to the Shepherds, and on the left, a Massacre of the Innocents. Also are frescoes on Presentation of Jesus to the Temple and Adoration by Magi. Four allegorical statues represent Temperance, Prudence on right; and Fortitude and Justice.

The third chapel to the left is the Cappella della Santissima Trinità, commissioned initially by the clerical patron Pirro Taro, is named due to the main altarpiece by Francesco Bassano the Younger. The frescoes completed mainly by three painters and assistants during 1588-1589; the exact attributions are uncertain, but it is said the Creation, the angels on the pilasters, and the designs of some of the frescoes by the Florentine Jesuit painter, Giovanni Battista Fiammeri. Painted with assistants was the Baptism of Christ on the right wall. The Transfiguration on the left wall and the Abraham with three angels on the right oval were by Durante Alberti. God the Father behind a chorus of angels in the left oval and in the pinnacles, angels with God’s attributes, were completed by Ventura Salimbeni. The reliquary on the altar holds the right arm of the polish Jesuit St. Andrew Bobola, martyred in 1657 and canonized by Pius XI in 1938.

The imposing and luxurious St. Ignatius Chapel, located on the left side of the transept, is the church's masterpiece, designed by Andrea Pozzo between 1696 and 1700. It houses the saint's tomb. The altar by Pozzo shows the Trinity on top of a globe. The lapis lazuli, representing the Earth, is thought to be the largest piece in the world. The four lapis lazuli-veneered columns enclose the colossal statue of the saint by Pierre Legros. The latter is a copy, probably by Adamo Tadolini working in the studio of Antonio Canova Pope Pius VI had the original silver statue melted down, ostensibly to pay the war reparations to Napoleon, as established by the Treaty of Tolentino, 1797. Originally the project was designed by Giacomo della Porta , then by Cortona ; but ultimately Pozzo won a public contest to design the altar. A canvas of the Saint receives the monogram with the name of Jesus from the celestial resurrected Christ attributed to Pozzo. The urn of St. Ignatius is a bronze urn by Algardi that holds the body of the saint, below are two groups of statues where Religion defeats heresy by Legros, and Faith defeats idolatry by Jean-Baptiste Théodon.

The St. Ignatius Chapel also hosts the restored macchina barocca or conversion machine of Andrea Pozzo. During daytime the statue of St. Ignatius is hidden behind a large painting, but every day at 17.30 loud religious music is played and the painting slides away in the floor, revealing the statue, with large spotlights switched on to show the piece[8].

The last chapel on the far end of the nave, to the left of the high altar, is the Chapel of the Madonna della Strada. The name derives from a medieval icon, once found in a now-lost Church in the piazza Altieri, venerated by sant'Ignazio. The interior is designed and decorated by Giuseppe Valeriani, who painted scenes from the life of the Virgin. The cupola frescoes were painted by G.P. Pozzi.

[edit] Legacy

The Church of the Gesù was the model of various churches of the Society of Jesus throughout the world, starting from the Church of St.Michael in Munich (1583-1597) and the Corpus Christi Church in Niasviž (1587-1593). Various parishes also share the name of the Church of the Gesù in Rome.

Lavinia Fontana, Noli me tangere, 1581, 80 x 65.6 cm (Uffizi)

oli me tangere, meaning "don't touch me", is the Latin version of words spoken, according to John 20:17, by Jesus to Mary Magdalene when she recognizes him after his resurrection.

The original phrase, Μή μου ἅπτου, in the Gospel of John, which was written in Greek, is better represented in translation as "cease holding on to me" or "stop clinging to me".[1] The biblical scene of Mary Magdalene's recognizing Jesus Christ after his resurrection became the subject of a long, widespread and continuous iconographic tradition in Christian art from late antiquity to the present.[2] This phrase is also said in Whoso list to hunt by Sir Thomas Wyatt.

[edit] Liturgical use

The words were a popular trope in Gregorian chant. The supposed moment in which they were spoken was a popular subject for paintings in cycles of the Life of Christ and as single subjects, for which the phrase is the usual title.

In the Eastern Orthodox Church the Gospel lesson on Noli me tangere is one of the Twelve Matins Gospels read during the All Night Vigil on Sunday mornings.

Noli Me Tangere (commonly referred to by its shortened name Noli) is a novel written in Spanish by Filipino writer and national hero José Rizal, first published in 1887 in Berlin, Germany. The English translation was originally titled The Social Cancer, although more recent translations have been published using the original Latin title.

Noli Me Tangere was Rizal's first novel. He was 26 at the time of its publication. This book was historically significant and was instrumental in the establishing of the Filipino sense of national identity. The book indirectly influenced a revolution although the author actually advocated direct representation to the Spanish government and larger role of the Philippines inside Spain's political affairs. The novel was written in Spanish, the language of the educated classes at a time when natives were markedly separated into diverse ethnolinguistic groups.

The novel created so much controversy that only a few days after his arrival, Governor-General Emilio Terrero summoned Rizal to the Malacañang Palace and told him of the charges saying that Noli Me Tangere was full of subversive ideas. After a discussion, the liberal Governor General was appeased; but he mentioned that he was unable to offer resistance against the pressure of the Church to take action against the book. The persecution can be discerned from Rizal's letter to Leitmeritz: "My book made a lot of noise; everywhere, I am asked about it. They wanted to anathematize me ['to excommunicate me'] because of it ... I am considered a German spy, an agent of Bismarck, they say I am a Protestant, a freemason, a sorcerer, a damned soul and evil. It is whispered that I want to draw plans, that I have a foreign passport and that I wander through the streets by night ..."

Rizal depiction of nationality by emphasizing the qualities of Filipinos: devotion of a Filipina and her influence to a man's life, the deep sense of gratitude, and the solid common sense of the Filipinos under the Spanish regime.

This novel and its sequel, El Filibusterismo (nicknamed El Fili), were banned in some parts of the Philippines because of their portrayal of corruption and abuse by the country's Spanish government and clergy. A character which has become a classic in the Philippines is "Maria Clara" who has become a personification of the ideal Filipino woman, loving and unwavering in her loyalty to her spouse. Another classic character is the priest "Father Dámaso" which reflects the covert fathering of illegitimate children by members of the Spanish clergy. In the story, Father Dámaso impregnates a woman. Copies were smuggled in nevertheless, and when Rizal returned to the Philippines after completing medical studies, he quickly ran afoul of the local government. First exiled to Dapitan, he was later arrested for "inciting rebellion" based largely on his writings. Rizal was executed in Manila on December 30, 1896 at the age of thirty-five.

The book was instrumental in creating a unified Filipino national identity and consciousness, as many Filipinos previously identified with their respective regions to the advantage of the Spanish authorities. It lampooned, caricatured and exposed various elements in colonial society.

Nowadays, Noli me Tangere and its sequel, El Filibusterismo, is studied by Third Year and Fourth Year secondary school students in the Philippines as part of the curriculum, usually as part of their Filipino subject. The novel is also often among the topics of the required course on the study of Rizal's life in tertiary education in the country. Textbooks designed for students were made by various publishers, and the text itself is oftent condensed or abridged to facilitate learning for students.

Artemisia Gentileschi, Self-Portrait as the Allegory of Painting, 1630s

c. 1630.

Oil on canvas.

0.965m by 0.737m

The Royal Collection, Kensington Palace, London.

The Painting.

Another of Artemisia's admired paintings is an advanced post erroneously placed in the biographical film at an earlier period. She probably placed two angled mirrors to gain this unusual side view of herself. She appears hard at work, her hair escaping from its tether. Charles I of England acquired this painting, which remains a state treasure.

I viewed this painting at the National Art Gallery in Canberra when it was part of the "Queen's Pictures" Exhibition in the late 1990's.

The Artist's Life.

Trtemisia completed this painting at the end of her stay in Rome. A mature and respected artist, she moved to Naples. She acquired the patronage of Philip IV of Spain, Charles I of England, and the Duke of Modena. With such regal patrons how could an artist of this magnitude have been so easily forgotten by art historians? Was it simply because she was a woman?

Artemisia Gentileschi, Judith Beheading Holofernes, ca. 1612 (Capodimonte Museum, Naples)

Artemisia Gentileschi (8 July 1593–ca. 1656) was an Italian Early Baroque painter, today considered one of the most accomplished painters in the generation influenced by Caravaggio. In an era when women painters were not easily accepted by the artistic community, she was the first female painter to become a member of the Accademia di Arte del Disegno in Florence.

She was one of the first female artists to paint historical and religious paintings, at a time when such heroic themes were considered beyond a woman's reach.

Artemisia Gentileschi was born in Rome on 8 July 1593, the eldest child of the Tuscan painter Orazio Gentileschi. Artemisia was introduced to painting in her father's workshop, showing much more talent than her brothers, who worked alongside her. She learned drawing, how to mix color and how to paint. Since her father's style took inspiration from Caravaggio during that period, her style was just as heavily influenced in turn. But her approach to subject matter was different from her father's, as her paintings are highly naturalistic, where Orazio's are idealized.

Susanna and the Elders, Schönborn Collection, Pommersfelden

The first work of the young 17-year-old Artemisia (even if many at the time suspected that she was helped by her father) was the Susanna e i Vecchioni (Susanna and the Elders) (1610, Schönborn collection in Pommersfelden). The picture shows how Artemisia assimilated the realism of Caravaggio without being indifferent to the language of the Bologna school (which had Annibale Carracci among its major artists). It is one of the few Susanna paintings showing the two men planning their sexual harassment. It is likely that Artemisia had been sexually harassed and painted Susanna as a reflection.

In 1612, despite her early talent, Artemisia was denied access to the all-male professional academies for art. At the time, her father was working with Agostino Tassi to decorate the vaults of Casino della Rose inside the Pallavicini Rospigliosi Palace in Rome, so Orazio hired the painter to tutor his daughter privately. During this tutelage, Tassi raped Artemisia. Another man, Cosimo Quorlis had helped Tassi with the rape. After the initial rape, Artemisia continued to have sexual relations with Tassi, with the expectation that they were going to be married. However, Tassi reneged on his promise to marry Artemisia after he heard the rumour that she was having an affair with another man. Quorlis had threatened that if he could not have her, he would publicly humiliate her. Orazio pressed charges against Tassi only after he learned that Artemisia and Tassi were not going to be married. Orazio also claimed that Tassi stole a painting of Judith from the Gentileschi household. The major issue of this trial was the fact that Tassi had deflowered Artemisia. If Artemisia had not been a virgin before Tassi raped her, the Gentileschis would not be able to press charges.

In the ensuing 7-month trial, it was discovered that Tassi had planned to murder his wife, had enjoined in adultery with his sister-in-law and planned to steal some of Orazio’s paintings. During the trial, Artemisia was given a gynecological examination and was tortured using thumbscrews. Both procedures were used to corroborate the truth of her allegation, the torture device used due to the belief that if a person can tell the same story under torture as without it, the story must be true[Citation Needed]. At the end of the trial Tassi was imprisoned for one year. The trial has subsequently influenced the feminist view of Artemisia Gentileschi during the late 20th century.

The painting Giuditta che decapita Oloferne (Judith beheading Holofernes) (1612–1613), displayed in the Capodimonte Museum of Naples, is impressive for the violence portrayed.

One month after the trial, in order to restore her honour, Orazio arranged for his daughter to marry Pierantonio Stiattesi, a modest artist from Florence. Shortly afterwards the couple moved to Florence, where Artemisia received a commission for a painting at Casa Buonarroti and became a successful court painter, enjoying the patronage of the Medici family and Charles I. It has been proposed that during this period Artemisia also painted the Madonna col Bambino (The Virgin and Child), currently in the Spada Gallery, Rome.

While in Florence, Artemisia and Pierantonio had four sons and one daughter. But only the daughter, Prudenzia, survived to adulthood — following her mother's return to Rome in 1621 and later move to Naples. After her mother's death, Prudenzia slipped into obscurity and little is known of her subsequent life.

[edit] Florentine period (1614-1620)

Judith Slaying Holofernes (1614-20) Oil on canvas 199 x 162 cm Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence.

In Florence, Artemisia enjoyed huge success. She was the first woman accepted into the Accademia delle Arti del Disegno (Academy of the Arts of Drawing). She maintained good relations with the most respected artists of her time, such as Cristofano Allori, and was able to conquer the favours and the protection of influential people, starting with Granduke Cosimo II de' Medici and especially of the Granduchess Cristina. She had a good relationship with Galileo Galilei with whom she remained in epistolary contact for a long time. She was esteemed by Michelangelo Buonarroti the younger (nephew of the great Michelangelo): busy with construction of Casa Buonarroti to celebrate his notable relative, he asked Artemisia to produce a painting to decorate the ceiling of the gallery of paintings.

The painting represents an allegory of Allegoria dell'Inclinazione (Allegory of the Inclination (natural talent)), presented under the form of a young nude woman who holds a compass. It is believed that the subject bears a resemblance to Artemisia. Indeed, in several of her paintings, Artemisia's energetic heroines have a similar appearance to her self-portraits. Her success and gender fueled many rumours about her private life.

Notable works from this period include La Conversione della Maddalena (The Conversion of the Magdalene), and Giuditta con la sua ancella (Judith and her Maidservant), now in the Pitti Palace. Artemisia painted a second version of Giuditta che decapita Oloferne (Judith beheading Holofernes), this one larger than the Naples version and now housed in the Uffizi Gallery of Florence.

Despite her success, due to an excess of expenses by her and her husband, the Florentine period was full of problems with creditors and with her husband. These problems led to her return to Rome in 1621.

[edit] Return to Rome, Venice period (1621-1630)

Artemisia arrived in Rome the same year her father Orazio departed for Genoa. Some believe that Artemisia followed her father there; while there is not enough evidence for this, this time together would have accentuated the similarity of their styles, which makes it often difficult today to determine which of the two painted certain works. Most of the evidence supports the notion that Artemisia remained in Rome, trying to find a home and raise her daughters. In addition to Prudenzia (born from the marriage with Pierantonio Stiattesi) she had another natural daughter, probably born in 1627. Artemisia tried, with almost no success, to teach them the art of painting.

Caravaggio's style, though the master had been dead over a decade, was still highly influential and converted many painters to his style (the so-called Caravaggisti) such as Artemisia's father, Carlo Saraceni (who returned to Venice 1620), Bartolomeo Manfredi, and Simon Vouet. However, painting styles in Rome during the early 17th century were diverse, a more classic manner of the Bolognese disciples of the Carracci and the baroque style of Pietro da Cortona.

It appears that Artemisia was also associated the Academy of the Desiosi. She was celebrated with a portrait carrying the incision "Pincturare miraculum invidendum facilius quam imitandum". In the same period she became friends with Cassiano dal Pozzo, a humanist, collector and lover of arts. However, despite her artistic reputation, her strong personality and her numerous good relationships, Rome was not as lucrative as she hoped. The appreciation of her art was narrowed down to portraits and to her ability with biblical heroines: she received none of the lucrative commissions for altarpieces. The absence of sufficient documentation makes it difficult to follow Artemisia's movements in this period. It is certain that between 1627 and as late as 1630 she moved to Venice, perhaps in search of richer commissions, as verses and letters were composed in appreciation of her and her works in Venice.

Although it is sometimes difficult to date her paintings, it is possible to assign to her these years the Ritratto di gonfaloniere (Portrait of Gonfaloniere), today in Bologna (a rare example of her capacity as portrait painter); the Giuditta con la sua ancella, (Judith and her Maidservant) today housed at the Detroit Institute of Arts. The Detroit painting is notable for her mastery of chiaroscuro and tenebrism (the effect of extreme lights and darks), techniques for which Gerrit van Honthorst, Trophime Bigot, and many others in Rome were famous. Her Venere Dormiente (The Sleeping Venus), today at Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, and her Ester ed Assuero (Esther and Ahasuerus) located at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, are testimony of her assimilation of the lessons of Venetian luminism.

[edit] Naples and the English period (1630-1653)

In 1630 Artemisia moved to Naples, a city rich with workshops and art lovers, in search of new and more lucrative job opportunities. Many other artists, including Caravaggio, Annibale Carracci, Simon Vouet had stayed in Naples for some time in their lives, and at that time, Jusepe de Ribera, Massimo Stanzione, and Domenichino were working there and later, Giovanni Lanfranco and many others would flock to the city. The Neapolitan debut of Artemisia is represented by the Annunciation in the Capodimonte Museum. She remained in Naples for the remainder of her career with the exception of a brief trip to London and some other journeys. Naples was for Artemisia a kind of second homeland where she took care of her family (both her daughters were married in Naples). She received letters of appreciation, being in good relations with the viceroy the Duke of Alcalá and started relations with many renowned artists, among them Massimo Stanzione, with whom, the eighteenth-century writer Bernardo de' Dominici reports, she started an artistic collaboration based on a real friendship and artistic similarities.

In Naples for the first time Artemisia started working on paintings in a cathedral, dedicated to San Gennaro nell'anfiteatro di Pozzuoli (Saint Januarius in the amphitheater of Pozzuoli) in Pozzuoli. During her first Neapolitan period she painted Nascita di San Giovanni Battista (Birth of Saint John the Baptist) located in the Museo del Prado in Madrid, and Corisca e il satiro (Corisca and the satyr), in a private collection. In these paintings Artemisia again demonstrates her ability to renew herself with the novelties of the period and handle different subjects, instead of the usual Judith, Susanna, Bathsheba, and Penitent Magdalenes, for which she was already known.

In 1638 Artemisia joined her father in London at the court of Charles I of England, where Orazio became court painter and received the important job of decorating a ceiling (allegory of Trionfo della pace e delle Arti (Triumph of the peace and the Arts) in the Casa delle Delizie of Queen Henrietta Maria of France in Greenwich. Father and daughter were once again working together, although helping her father was probably not her only reason for travelling to London: Charles I had convoked her in his court, and it was not possible to refuse. Charles I was a fanatical collector, willing to ruin public finances to follow his artistic wishes. The fame of Artemisia probably intrigued him, and it is not a coincidence that his collection included a painting of great suggestion, the Autoritratto in veste di Pittura ("Self-Portrait as the Allegory of Painting.").

Orazio suddenly died in 1639. Artemisia had her own commissions to fulfill after her father's death, although there are no known works assignable with certainty to this period. It is known that Artemisia had already left England by 1642, when the civil war was just starting. Nothing much is known about her subsequent movements. Historians know that in 1649 she was in Naples again, corresponding with Don Antonio Ruffo of Sicily who became her mentor and good commitment during this second Neapolitan period. The last known letter to her mentor is dated 1650 and makes clear that she was still fully active. Artemisia was once thought to have died in 1652/1653. Recent evidence, however, has shown that she was still accepting commissions in 1654—though increasingly dependent on her assistant, Onofrio Palumbo. Thus it might be speculated that she died in the devastating plague that swept Naples in 1656 and virtually wiped out an entire generation of Neapolitan artists.

Some works in this period are Susanna e i vecchioni (Susanna and the elders) today in Brno and Madonna e Bambino con rosario (Virgin and Child with a Rosary) today in El Escorial.

[edit] Artistic profile

Judith and her Maidservant (1613-14) Oil on canvas Palazzo Pitti, Florence

A research paper of Roberto Longhi, an important Italian critic, dated 1916, named Gentileschi padre e figlia (Gentileschi father and daughter) described Artemisia as "the only woman in Italy who ever knew about painting, coloring, doughing and other fundamentals". Longhi also wrote of Judith Slaying Holofernes:

Who could think in fact that over a sheet so candid, a so brutal and terrible massacre could happen [...] but - it's natural to say - this is a terrible woman! A woman painted all this?... there's nothing sadistic here, instead what strikes the most is the impassibility of the painter, who was even able to notice how the blood, spurting with violence, can decorate with two drops the central spurt! Incredible I tell you! And also please give Mrs. Schiattesi - the conjugal name of Artemisia - the chance to choose the hilt of the sword! At last don't you think that the only aim of Giuditta is to move away to avoid the blood which could stain her dress? We think anyway that that is a dress of Casa Gentileschi, the finest wardrobe in the Europe during 1600, after Van Dyck.

Feminist studies increased the interest towards Artemisia's artistic work and life. Such studies underlined her suffering of rape and subsequent mistreatment, and the expressive strength of her paintings of biblical heroines, in which the women are interpreted as willing to manifest their rebellion against their condition. In a research paper from the catalogue of the exhibition "Orazio e Artemisia Gentileschi" which took place in Rome in 2001 (and after in New York), Judith W. Mann gives a feminist opinion of Artemisia:

An opinion like that presupposes that the full creative potential of Artemisia is only about strong capable women, at the point that seems impossible to imagine her busy doing conventional religious images, like a Virgin Mary with a Baby or a virgin submissively waiting for the Annunciation; and besides it is said that the artist refused to modify her personal interpretation of those subjects to conform to the preferences of a client base presumably composed by males. The stereotype caused a double restrictive effect: it both induced the critics to doubt about the attribution of the paintings not corresponding to described model, and to give an inferior value to the ones not found on the cliché.

Due to the fact that Artemisia returned again and again to violent subject matter such as Judith and Holofernes, a repressed-vengeance theory has been postulated. However, some art historians suggest that she was shrewdly playing on her fame from the rape trial to cater to a niche market in sexually-charged, female-dominant art for male patrons.

The most recent critic, starting from the difficult reconstruction of the entire catalogue of the Gentileschi, tried to give a less reductive reading of the career of Artemisia, placing it more accurately in the context of the different artistic environments in which the painter actively participated. A reading like this restores Artemisia as an artist who fought with determination, using the weapon of personality and of the artistic qualities, against the prejudices expressed against women painters; being able to introduce herself productively in the circle of the most respected painters of her time, embracing a series of pictorial genres which were probably more ample and varied than her paintings suggest.

[edit] Artemisia and contemporary female painters

For a woman at the beginning of the 17th century, being a painter like Artemisia represented an uncommon and difficult choice, but not an exceptional one. Before Artemisia, between the end of the 1500 and the beginning of 1600 other female painters had successful careers.

Other female painters began their career while Artemisia was alive. Judged on their artistic merits, Longhi's statement that Artemisia was "the only woman in Italy who ever knew about painting" may be questioned, but there is no doubt that Artemisia continues to be among the most highly regarded of female artists, and has finally taken her place among the great artists of the Baroque.

Lavinia Fontana, Portrait of a Young Noblewoman, 1580s

Portrait of a Noblewoman, like most of those painted by Lavinia Fontana, is startling in its attention to detail and in the sumptuousness of the subject's clothing. The contrast between the woman and the picture's plain, dark background is especially strong and ensures that the viewer's attention will be focused on the figure.

The artist depicted every bit of light reflected off the facets of each jewel, the differences in texture among satin, velvet, and lace, and the delicate gold threads of the embroidery. But more than Fontana's technical skill is evident here.

Recent scholarship has established that this painting of an unidentified, very young Bolognese noblewoman is almost certainly her marriage portrait. Studies of account books and family diaries from this period show that the clothes and gems depicted here correspond precisely to the items that made up a typical highborn bride's corredo (trousseau). The dowry of a young noblewoman in late-sixteenth-century Bologna comprised a sum of money, plus an assortment of lavish garments and jewels, which established her own inherited wealth and the financial contribution she would bring to her new family.

Red was the color of most Bolognese wedding dresses; the small dog was a common symbol representing marital fidelity. Suspended from the woman's belt is a curious item mentioned in numerous family records of that time. It is the pelt of a marten-a slender, minklike creature-whose head and paws are elaborately decorated with jewels. It serves as an additional adornment and symbol of her wealth.

Lavinia Fontana, Self-Portrait at the Spinet with a Maidservant, 1577


Lavinia Fontana specialized in portraits and was the first woman accepted into the prestigious Accademia di San Luca, the organization of painters, in Rome. Of her self-portraits, one of the most interesting seems to be this marriage portrait.

Sitting on the spinet is a piece of coral carved into the shape of a love-knot, a symbol of betrothal. The inscription on the painting, "Lavinia, the unmarried daughter of Prospero Fontana, took this, her image, from the mirror, 1577," indicates that the painting was made before Fontana's marriage that same year to Giovan Paolo Zappi, a fellow pupil in his father's studio. They had eleven children, and it is said that Zappi assisted her by painting the backgrounds in some of her works.

Lavinia virgo Prosperi Fontanae/Filia ex speculo imaginem/oris sui expresi anno 1577

[Lavinia virgin/maiden daughter of Prospero Fontana has represented the likeness of her face from the mirror in the year 1577]

Sofonisba Anguissola, Bernardino Campi Painting Sofonisba Anguissola, ca. 1557

Sofonisba Anguissola was born in Cremona, Lombardy around 1532, the oldest of seven children, six of whom were daughters. Her father, Amilcare Anguissola, was a member of the Genoese minor nobility. Sofonisba's mother, Bianca Ponzone, was also of an affluent family of noble background.

Over four generations, the Anguissola family had a strong connection to ancient Carthaginian history and they named their offspring after the great general Hannibal, thus the first daughter was named after the tragic Carthaginian figure Sophonisba.

Amilcare Anguissola encouraged all of his daughters (Sofonisba, Elena, Lucia, Europa, Minerva and Anna Maria) to cultivate and perfect their talents. Four of the sisters (Elena, Lucia, Europa and Anna Maria) became painters, but Sofonisba was by far the most accomplished and renowned. Elena became a nun (Sofonisba painted a portrait of her) and therefore had to give up painting. Both Anna Maria and Europa gave up art upon marrying, while Lucia Anguissola, the best painter of Sophonisba's sisters, died young. The other sister, Minerva, became a writer and Latin scholar. Asdrubale, Sophonisba's brother, studied music and Latin but not painting.

Her aristocratic father made sure that Sofonisba and her sisters received a well-rounded education that included the fine arts. Anguissola was fourteen years old when her father sent her with her sister Elena to study with Bernardino Campi, a respected portrait and religious painter of the Lombard school, also from Cremona, Sofonisba's home town. When Campi moved to another city, Sofonisba continued her studies with the painter Bernardino Gatti (known as Il Sojaro). Sofonisba's apprenticeship with local painters set a precedent for women to be accepted as students of art.[1][2]

Dates are uncertain, but Anguissola probably continued her studies under Gatti for about three years(1551–1553).

Lucia, Minerva and Europa Anguissola Playing Chess, 1555. Muzeum Narodowe (National Museum), Poznań, Poland.

Sophonisba's most important early work is Bernardino Campi Painting Sofonisba Anguissola (c 1550 Pinacoteca Nazionale, Siena). The double portrait depicts her art teacher in the act of painting a portrait of her.

In 1554, at age twenty-two, Sofonisba traveled to Rome, where she spent her time sketching various scenes and people. While in Rome, she met Michelangelo through the help of another painter who knew her work well. Meeting Michelangelo was a great honor for Sofonisba and she had the benefit of being informally trained by the great master.

When he made a request for her to draw a weeping boy, Sofonisba drew 'Child bitten by a crab' and sent it back to Michelangelo, who immediately recognized her talent (this sketch would continue to be discussed and copied for the next fifty years among artists and the aristocracy)[citation needed].

Michelangelo subsequently gave Anguissola sketches from his notebooks to draw in her own style and offered advice on the results. For at least two years Sofonisba continued this informal study, receiving substantial guidance from Michelangelo.

The great early art historian Giorgio Vasari wrote this about Sofonisba: ‘Anguissola has shown greater application and better grace than any other woman of our age in her endeavors at drawing; she has thus succeeded not only in drawing, coloring and painting from nature, and copying excellently from others, but by herself has created rare and very beautiful paintings."[3][unreliable source?]

[edit] Experiences as a Female Artist

Bernardino Campi Painting Sofonisba Anguissola, c. late 1550s.

Although Sofonisba enjoyed much more encouragement and support than the average woman of her day, her social class did not allow her to transcend the constraints of her sex. Without the possibility of studying anatomy or drawing from life (it was considered unacceptable for a lady to view nudes), she could not undertake the complex multi-figure compositions required for large-scale religious or history paintings.

Instead, she searched for possibilities of a new style of portraiture, with subjects set in informal ways. Self-portraits and members of her own family were her most frequent subjects, as seen in such paintings as Self-Portrait (1554, Kunsthistoriches Museum, Vienna), The Chess Game (1555, Museum Narowe, Poznan), that depicts three of her sisters Lucia, Minerva and Europa, and Portrait of Amilcare, Minerva and Asdrubale Anguissola (c. 1557-1558, Nivaagaards Malerisambling, Niva, Denmark).

[edit] At the Spanish Court

When she was already well known, Anguissola went to Milan sometime in 1558, where she painted the Duke of Alba who in turn recommended her to the Spanish king, Philip II. The following year, Sofonisba was invited to join the Spanish Court, which was the turning point in her career.

Portrait of Queen Elisabeth of Spain with a zibellino.
The Prado Philip II, now recognised as by Anguissola

Sofonisba Anguissola was around twenty seven years old when she left Italy to join the Spanish court. In the winter of 1559-1560 she arrived at Madrid to serve as a court painter and lady-in-waiting to the new Queen, Elisabeth of Valois, Philip II’s third wife, who was an amateur portraitist herself. Sofonisba was essentially engaged to tutor the Queen, at which she was considered successful, a French courtier writing to Catherine de' Medici, Elizabeth's mother:

It is incredible how, having learned a little from one of her Italian ladies whom the king has given her, she has advanced in her painting

- going on to pass on a request for François Clouet to make up some crayons for the Queen.[4]

Sofonisba soon gained the esteem and confidence of the young Queen and spent the following years painting many official portraits for the court, including Philip II’s sister Juana, and son, Don Carlos.

This work was far more demanding than the informal portraits upon which Anguissola had based her early reputation, as it took a tremendous amount of time and energy to render the many intricate designs of the fine fabrics and elaborate jewelry essential to royal subjects. Yet despite the challenge, Sophonisba's paintings of Elisabeth of Valois (and later, of Anne of Austria, Philip II’s fourth wife) are vibrant and full of life.

While in the service of Elizabeth of Valois, Anguissola worked closely with Alonso Sanchez Coello. So closely in fact, that the famous painting of the middle-aged King Philip II was long attributed to Coello or Pantoja. Only recently has Anguissola been recognized as the painting's creator.[5]

[edit] Personal life

Self-portrait, 1554

In 1570, Anguissola was thirty-eight and still unmarried. After the death of Elisabeth of Valois, Philip II took additional interest in Sofonisba's future and arranged a marriage for her. Around 1571, she married Don Francisco de Moncada, son of the prince of Paterno, viceroy of Sicily. The wedding ceremony was celebrated with great pomp, and she received a dowry from the Spanish king. After the wedding the couple traveled to visit her family, as well as her husband's estates, in Italy but eventually returned to Spain. After eighteen years with the Spanish court, Sofonisba and her husband finally left Spain with the permission of the King sometime during 1578. They went to Palermo where Sofonisba's husband died in 1579.

At the age of forty-seven, while traveling home to Cremona, Sofonisba met the considerably younger Orazio Lomellino, the captain of the ship she was traveling on. They were married shortly afterwards, in January of 1580, in Pisa.

Orazio recognized and supported her in her artwork and they had a long and happy marriage. They settled in Genoa, where her husband's family lived in their large home. Anguissola was given her own quarters, studio and time to paint and draw.

[edit] Late Years

Orazio's fortune plus a generous pension from Philip II, allowed Sofonisba to paint freely and live comfortably. By now quite famous, Sofonisba received many colleagues who came to visit and discuss the arts with her. Several of these were younger artists, eager to learn and mimic Anguissola's distinctive style.

In 1623, Anguissola was visited by the Flemish painter Sir Anthony Van Dyck, who had painted several portraits of her in the early 1600s, and recorded sketches from his visits to her in his sketchbook. Anthony Van Dyck noted that, although "her eyesight was weakened," Sofonisba was still quite mentally alert. Excerpts of the advice she gave him about painting also survive from this visit. Van Dyck drew her portrait while visiting her; this was to be the last portrait made of Sofonisba. The very next year, she returned to Sicily.

In her late period, Anguissola painted not only portraits but religious themes, as she had done in the days of her youth (unfortunately, many of her religious paintings have been lost). She was the leading portrait painter in Genoa until she moved to Palermo in her last years. In 1620, she painted her last self-portrait.

Contrary to later biographers' claims, she was never entirely blind but perhaps had cataracts. Sofonisba became a wealthy patron of the arts after the weakening of her sight. She died at age 93, in Palermo in 1625. She was internationally acclaimed and respected throughout her life.

Seven years later, on the anniversary of what would have been her 100th birthday had she lived, her husband placed an inscription on her tomb that reads, in part:

"To Sofonisba, my wife ... who is recorded among the illustrious women of the world, outstanding in portraying the images of man ... Orazio Lomellino, in sorrow for the loss of his great love, in 1632, dedicated this little tribute to such a great woman."[6]

[edit] Style

Sofonisba Anguissola, Self-Portrait, 1610.

The influence of Campi, whose reputation was based on portraiture, is evident in Sofonisba's early works, such as the Self-portrait (Florence, Uffizi). Her work was allied to the worldly tradition of Cremona, much influenced by the art of Parma and Mantua, in which even religious works were imbued with extreme delicacy and charm. From Gatti she seems to have absorbed elements reminiscent of Correggio, beginning a trend that became marked in Cremonese painting of the late 16th century. This new direction is reflected in Lucia, Minerva and Europa Anguissola Playing Chess (1555; Poznan, N. Mus.) in which portraiture merges into a quasi-genre scene, a characteristic derived from Brescian models.

The main body of Anguissola's earlier work consists of self-portraits (the many "autoritratti" reflect the fact that portraits of her were frequently requested due to her fame) and portraits of her family. In addition she did not always rely on painting for her livelihood. The self- and family portraits are considered by many to be her finest works.

A total of about 50 works have been securely attributed to Sofonisba. Her works can be seen at galleries in Bergamo, Budapest, Madrid (Museo del Prado), Naples, Siena, and Florence (Uffizi Gallery).

[edit] Historical Significance

Sofonisba Anguissola's oeuvre had a lasting influence upon subsequent generations of artists. Her portrait of Queen Elisabeth of Valois with a zibellino (the pelt of a marten set with a head and feet of jewelled gold) was the most widely copied portrait in Spain. Copiers of this work include many of the finest artists of the time, such as Peter Paul Rubens.

Sofonisba is also important to feminist art historians. Although there has never been a period in Western history in which women were completely absent in the visual arts, Anguissola's great success opened the way for larger numbers of women to pursue serious careers as artists. Some famous successors to her example include Lavinia Fontana, Barbara Longhi, Fede Galizia and Artemisia Gentileschi.

Sophonisba once said, “Life is full of surprises, I try to capture these precious moments with wide eyes.”

One of the period's most inventive portraitists came from Cremona. The noblewoman Sofonisba Anguissola created wry and witty portraits of family members and acquaintances, a subject largely imposed upon her by societal restrictions on female access to models and patrons. Sofonisba's painting of her teacher, painting her portrait - a story within a story - demonstrates how she negotiated her male-dominated world. Anguissola's gaze rivets the viewer of the painting, forcing consideration of what appears to be the inscribing of male authority on the body of the female. Campi's gaze complicates matters, however, since as he paints he, too, looks out of the painting toward what the picture indicates must be his subject, Anguissola. Thus the viewer in front of the painting plays a double role: that of the subject of the painting within the painting, namely Anguissola herself, and of an engaged viewer - watched by both Campi and Anguissola - made complicit in Anguissola's destabilizing of contemporary social norms.