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Paris Art Studies – Artemisia Gentileschi 1593 - 1654



1593 – Born in Rome, eldest daughter of the painter Orazio Gentileschi de Lomis (1563-1639) and Prudenzia Montoni.

1597-1610 – Family lives in Piazza Santa Trinita near the Spanish Steps.

1605 – Artemisia is confirmed at basilica of St John Lateran. Her mother dies in labor at 30 years old.

1608-10 – First paintings by Artemisia under the guidance of her father.

1611 – Artemisia (not yet 18 years old) is raped by the painter Agostino Tassi on the worksite for the mural paintings of the apartment of Cardinal Margotti at the Quirinal palace. Tassi promises to marry her and their liaison will continue for 9 months as he directs her in the decoration of the Casino dele Muse of Cardinal Scipione Borghese.

1612 – Her father, Orazio, however decides to denounce Tassi to Pope Paul V, implicating his daughter in a now public scandal. A court case against Tassi opens in March and lasts for 8 months. Tassi is in the end condemned to a sentence of 5 years of service in the papal galleys and away from Rome, which he will, however, never serve. In November Artemisia married Pierantonio Stiattesi brother of the painter Giovanni Battista Stiattesi, a friend of her father’s. It is most probable that he was induced to marry the dishonored Artemisia for financial gain.

1613 – Artemisia and her husband move to Florence. She gives birth to a first son, Gianbattista.

1614 – Meets and works for the great nephew of Michelangelo, Michelangelo Buonarroti the younger.

1615 – Her high artistic reputation in Florence is confirmed in a letter of the secretary of the Grand Duke Cosimo II to the Florentine ambassador in Rome. Birth of her 2nd son baptized Cristofano in honor of his godfather the painter Cristofano Allori.

1616 – Artemisia is registered at the Florentine drawing academy. Meets and befriends Galileo Galilei probably through Buonarroti.

1617 – Birth of a 3rd child, a daughter, Artemisia, also called Palmira. Probable date of her meeting with her future lover the nobleman Francesco Maria Maringhi agent and business associate of her landlord Matteo Frescobaldi. Another friend of Buonarroti’s, he belongs to the best Florentine artistic and intellectual circles.

1618 – Records of payments for artwork from the Grand Duke of Tuscany. Birth of her daughter Lisabella, her last child (dies in 1619).

1620 – Artemisia asks permission of the Grand Duke to leave for a few weeks for Rome, promising to send him a commissioned painting (“Hercules”) which will in the end be delivered to the Grand Duke in the autumn by Maringhi. She leaves with her husband very suddenly for Prato, probably fleeing creditors. Their children remain in Florence under the tutelage of Maringhi. The couple settles in Rome in March and try to get their furniture sequestered by creditors back from Florence, in the end purchased by Maringhi.

1622 – Artemisia and her family now live in a house on the via Corso and are joined by her younger brothers Giulio and Francesco. Pierantonio attacks a Spaniard serenading Artemisia below her window.

1623 – Pierantonio leaves Artemisia and his trace is lost. She is now head of her own household and family. The French painter Simon Vouet paints her portrait.

1627 – Artemisia recorded in Venice where she seems to have had an affair with the poet Gianfrancesco Loredan.

1630 – Artemisia presence recorded in Naples in the service of the Spanish viceroy Don Fernando Duke of Alcalà. During her Neapolitan stay she corresponds with the great Roman collector and erudite Cassiano del Pozzo, the duke of Modena and the Grand Duke of Tuscany. Her brother Francesco acts as her agent in the rest of Italy. He is also in contact with Charles I of England.

1638 – She is the subject of a published ode in her honor by the Neapolitan poet Girolamo Fontanella. After failing to get a position in the courts of Modena or Tuscany she joins her father, Orazio, at the court of Charles I in London. Her style is discernible on the ceiling paintings in Queen’s House in Greenwich.

1639 – Death of Orazio in London. Unhappy in England she continues to lobby for the protection of Francesco d’Este duke of Modena.

1640 – Artemisia returns to Naples.

1648 – Her new great patron is Don Antonio Ruffo senator of Messina in Sicily with whom she corresponds regularly in her last years.

1654 – Artemisia dies in Naples where she is buried in the church of San Giovanni dei Fiorentini.


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