The Passion of Artemisia

The Passion of Artemisia

Book - 2002
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In her luminous debut, Susan Vreeland told the story of a Vermeer painting that transformed the lives of many owners with its beauty. Now, in her stunning new novel, she tells the story of a painter who transformed Renaissance Italy with the beauty of her work. The Passion of Artemisia chronicles the extraordinary life of Artemisia Gentileschi, the first woman to make a significant contribution to art history.At age eighteen, Artemisia Gentileschi finds herself humiliated in papal court for publicly accusing the man who raped her -Agostino Tassi, her painting teacher. When even her father does not stand up for her, she knows she cannot stay in Rome and begs to have a marriage arranged for her. Her new husband, an artist named Pietro Stiatessi, takes her to his native Florence, where her talent for painting blossoms and she becomes the first woman elected to the Accademia dell'Arte. But marriage clashes with Artemisia's newfound fame as a painter, and she begins a lifelong search to reconcile painting and motherhood, passion and genius.Set against the glorious backdrops of Rome, Florence, and Genoa, people with historical characters such as Cosimo de'Medici and Galileo and filled with details of the life of a Renaissance painter, The Passion of Artemisia is the story of Gentileschi's struggle to find love, forgiveness, and wholeness through her art. At once a dramatic tale of love and a moving father-daughter story, it is the portrait of an astonishing woman that will captivate lovers of Gentileschi's paintings and anyone interested in the life of a woman who ignored the conventions of her day and dared to follow her heart.
Publisher: New York : Viking, 2002
ISBN: 9780670894499
0670894494
Branch Call Number: VREE
Characteristics: 288 p

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A well told story. I feel that the author pitched this to a young adult audience. As a mature reader the angst felt around the rape was somewhat shallow. Still, the difficulty of raising a daughter alone and of the betrayal of the woman as artist is the middle ages is a fascinating story and the juxtaposition of the life of the nuns who eschewed marriage provides some excellent material for thought.

WVMLStaffPicks Dec 23, 2014

The author of Girl in Hyacinth Blue offers us another luminous novel, this one about a woman’s passion for her art. The story is based on the life of post-renaissance painter Artemisia Gentileschi, the only woman to paint in the style of Caravaggio. At 18, Artemisia is raped by her art teacher and then publicly humiliated in a papal Roman court. In an attempt to salvage the family’s reputation, her father forces her into a loveless marriage with a Florentine painter. Artemisia must struggle against her husband’s jealousy of her talents, the strain of motherhood, and the chauvinism of the art world. Set against the great cities of Italy during a time of political and artistic upheaval we see a woman who dared to follow her heart and defy convention to forge her own place in history.

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