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The Baroque Era and Today: Anti-Antics of Artemisia Gentileschi Analyzed

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Essay title: The Baroque Era and Today: Anti-Antics of Artemisia Gentileschi Analyzed

The Baroque Era and Today: Anti-antics of Artemisia Gentileschi Analyzed

There is no historic age admired more then the Renaissance. This epic period defined the meaning of art and its connection to humanism in the past and present. It was an explosion of ideas and knowledge. It was a rebirth of learning based on the rediscovery of ancient texts, and a rebirth of the European culture as a whole. When the Renaissance ended the Baroque period emerged, that conveyed different ideas. There was a sense of tension and even theatrical drama in the paintings. The period produced several new and influential artists that defined the new style and one of the most important was Artemisia Gentileschi. Artemesia was a female Italian painter that pianted in a time period where female painters were not a norm and in many case were not socially accepted. She however, did not conform and became one of the most important female artists of all-time. This was partly because of her breaking ground in paintings involving historical and religious themes. It was not all fun and games for Gentileschi, as she faced hardships and turmoil throughout her artistic life. This anguish and disparity can be seen even in her work Judith and Holofernes. Throughout Gentileschi's painting there is a prevalent theme of feminism. To understand why she is so anti-male it is important to look at Artemisia's motives for the painting, the treatment of women during the Baroque period, and the relevance of Artemisia's life and work with regards to the present.

When Artemisia Gentileschi was a teen her teacher Agostino Tassi raped her. During the Baroque Era women were not supposed to lose their virginity before marriage; since, Artemisia had lost her virginity before she had married, many people considered her to be unchaste. Therefore, the rape and many people considering her to be unchaste led to her hatred towards men. When a woman becomes victim to rape the healing can be long and arduous. When a person has experienced a traumatic ordeal such as a rape, he or she may undergo slight emotional or mental changes. This artist was no exception. The tone of her works reflected the emotional changes by placing emphasis on the heroine triumphant over the male figure. This is clear in her most famous painting Judith and Holofernes. In this painting Judith and her servant hold Holofernes down, while Judith beheads Holofernes with a sword. One can see the emotions of hate towards Holofernes in the face of Judith. The painting remains one of the most famous and influential symbols of female power created to this day. But it is also remains as a change of Artemisia's current situation as well. Someone can easily assume Judith symbolizes Artemisia and Holofernes symbolizes Tassi, but why did Artemisia choose Judith as the heroin and Holofernes as the villain? Judith was an innocent Jewish widow women living in Bethulia, a town besieged by Holofernes the general of the Assyrian army. Therefore, Judith had much hatred towards Holoferenes. Artemisia identifies with Judith because Judith was trying to live her life just like Artemisia before a male came into their lives and took something away from them. Holofernes took Judith's freedom; just as, Tassi took Artemisia's virginity. Artemisia used Holofernes because he inflected pain among others, and he was hated by thousands for his actions. Therefore, Artemisia chose Judith and Holofernes because Judith overcame Holofernes; just as, Artemisia wishes to overcome her enemy Tassi. The emotion and theatrical passion of the painting was charged by Artemisia's emotions.

Women were largely ignored during the Baroque Era, especially in visual

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