Bad Girls Throughout History: 100 Remarkable Women Who Changed the World - Ann Shen (2016)
Artemisia Gentileschi (1593-ca. 1656) was an Italian Baroque painter who made a name for herself by portraying strong mythical females in positions of power—a rare representation for women in the seventeenth century. She was the daughter of an established artist who trained her in the style of post-Renaissance art, dominantly influenced by Caravaggio. At seventeen she debuted her first painting, Susanna and the Elders, depicting the biblical story of a woman tormented by two older men after she rejects their advances, though it was suggested that her father had helped her because of the level of skill the piece demonstrated. Rejected by art academies, Gentileschi was privately tutored by her father’s friend Agostino Tassi, who ended up taking advantage of her. Her father pressed rape charges against Tassi, and a highly publicized seven- month trial followed. This traumatic event is said to have dramatically affected the subjects of Gentileschi’s work. She became known for her fearless and confident painting style, along with portraying courageous, rebellious, and powerful females as protagonists in her paintings. For example, in multiple paintings she depicted the story of Judith violently murdering the Assyrian general Holofernes and saving the Jewish people, and she often used herself as a reference for the portrayal of her heroines. Gentileschi experienced great success with her work in her lifetime and became the first woman accepted into Florence’s Academy of Design (Accademia delle Arti del Disegno).