Artemisia Gentileschi: Judith Reimagined

Hannah Criswell

Abstract


Artemisia Gentileschi (1593-1653) was a prominent female painter in the Italian Baroque era and has been the subject of many scholarly texts throughout the years. This paper analyzes Gentileschi’s Judith paintings through a social psychology lens rather than using feminist theories and psychological models of rape as has been done previously. Analysis is accomplished by looking at the paintings in a linear manner addressing the connections between Gentileschi’s life and paintings, her relationships within her life, and the differences between the male and female viewpoints of the same subject. Initial research was based on the book, Artemisia Gentileschi: The Image of the Female Hero in Italian Baroque Art, written by Mary Garrard. Further research was expanded by reading primary sources, such as the story of Judith in the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical books of the Christian Old Testament, and scholarly journal articles within the fields of the biblical Judith and Gentileschi’s life. After reading more on Gentileschi’s life and studying psychological models that are used to explain human behavior, the direction of this research changed to focus directly on the concepts of social psychology. Through detailed visual and psychological analysis, this study provides a new interpretation of the connection of the four Judith paintings to Gentileschi’s life.  Context Warning: this presentation will have context that may be sensitive to some individuals, including paintings depicting violent acts and discussion of sexual assault.


Keywords


Artemisia Gentileschi; Judith Paintings; Psychology

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