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Artemisia Gentileschi (Judith slaying Holofernes)
Artemisia Gentileschi born in Rome in 1593, daughter of Tuscan master Orazio
Gentileschi. She and her brothers were exposed to art through her fathers art lessons, there she
found out she had talent in painting that was far greater than her brothers. Being a female painter
was very difficult during the Renaissance since females were looked down upon and considered
to have no talent, but that didnt stop young Artemisia. At seventeen she already started painting;
one of her works was Susana and the Elders. In the painting a women named Susana is getting
harassed by the Elders. She enhanced her knowledge in art by taking art lessons taught by one of
her fathers peers, Agostino Tassi. He taught her how to paint and as well raped her, and was
sent to jail for a year when the public knew. Artemisia also painted Judith Slaying Holofernes
which reflected the hate she had after she was raped. Soon after she married Pierantonio Stiattesi
the couple moved to Florence where she was accepted by into a painters academy and protected
by the de Medici family. Artemisia turned out to be the most recognized female artist
throughout time and a real influence for equal rights for women.

Artemisia Gentileschis most famous painting; Judith Slaying Holofernes is painting of a biblical
scene from the Old Testament of Judith infiltrates an Assyrian camp to kill the leader,
Holofernes. Judith waits patiently until Holofernes is drunk and passed out in his tent. She
sneaks in and with her own dagger beheaded Holofornes in two quick slices with the help of her
maid, Abra. Judith smuggled Holofrernes head back to Bethulia where she showed off her
trophy. Shortly before this painting was created she was raped by Agostino Tassi, many people
assume this particular painting is a result of her experience and hate she had against him.

This painting of the slaughter of Holorfernes (1612-1613) reflected society though art,
since art and artists were considered geniuses, pieces such as the Slaughter of Holofornes
showed how people really respected art. This painting is based on a biblical scene were Judith
saves her home and town Bethulia by killing Assyrian Leader Holofernes. This painting has
many characteristics and could be seen from different perspectives, such as through a womans
perspective, this painting must show leadership and equal rights and values between both sexes
and can also been seen through a religious perspective as well, as seeing the painting as
gruesome and unholy at all. During the Renaissance painters were finding different ways to
paint, there were different methods such as oil painting, which this painting is painted with.
Painting with oil an artist is supposed paint with pigments that are bound of medium of dried oil.
Since this painting was occurring during the Renaissance art, music, science, and literature was
advancing. Literature took a huge step forward through Vernacular and the movable printing
press, with small inventions, the world of literature spread and conquered the minds of many. Art
entered a new era during the Renaissance, with advances through painting, perspectives, and life
like features in paintings. Since Artemisia Gentileschi is female artist many people didnt take
her work seriously, but she ended up being the most respected female artist during the late
Renaissance. She was accepted to the Accademia de Arte del Disegno in Florence were she was
protected and respected by the Medici family. Many women were not accepted to leagues such
for simply being female, as it was in society. Women were looked down as a weaker force and
not as important as a male. Artemisia was the acceptation and was strongly respected then and
now through the text books.

Like many paintings painted during the Renaissance they painted with realism,
naturalism, vanishing points, shadows, lights, and emotion. The canvas is painted in a darker
mood and is very life like, such as in Holofernes arms. You can see the stress in his face and
arms trying to stop the murder by pushing away Abras face. The blood dripping from his bed is
also very life like flowing through the folds of his sheets. The reason this canvas is painted in a
darker color is to put more emphasis on the scene. Since this painting was painted after she was
raped by her teacher, you can assume the hate she feels was tied into the painting. In the face of
Judith, that really resembles Artemisias, shows Judith is not brutally stabbing Holofernes, she
looks she seems to portray a sense of justice. The incident with her teacher really impacted her
artwork and gave emotion to her work.
The slaughter of Holofrenes portrays many universal themes such as life and death and also
religion. In the canvas Holofrenes is obviously experiencing his last moments of life and coming
close to death at the hands of Judith and Abra. Since this painting is based on a religious scene from
the Old Testament religion is a big factor. These factors are still relevant in todays western culture.

This painting says a lot about us as human beings, not only through advances in technology but
of how we as human beings can be ugly. The canvas can be seen through many different
perspectives and interpreted differently. This painting says a lot such as, a beautiful women
beheading a man in his bed is not only gruesome its inhumane. This painting is beautiful in its
ways but as I stated before this painting on a biblical scene. When you think about biblical one
might think of kidness, love, and compassion. This painting is the complete opposite and shows
how we as humans can be ugly. One might say this painting may also show the strength of
women and how respected they should be. For a long time women were not a considered as
equal as man, and many people still think like that today. From a male perspective this painting
justifies how women can be capable of anything and can be anything. Just like Artemisia, a

female painter, during a time were women were not considered important. In the painting the two
women, Judith and Abra have no resemblance of fear or hate when beheading the Assyrian
leader. This painting was created shortly after she was raped, and a viewer can see the hate in the
painting. In this canvas, it shows a sense of hate and justice in the face of Judith and as well as
Abra when killing their enemy. The Portrait also shows how we as humans will do anything to
secure the safety of ourselves and of others. The scene is about how Judith saves her home town
by killing the leader of the enemy, thus saving the town. One might say this painting also shows
pride through the town. Two women, not men single handily killed the leader of their enemy and
saved their town.
Artemsisa Gentilschi a real inspiration to women and artists showing anything can be achieved,
as a female artist in the Renaissance she didnt have all the rights to be a well respected artist but
that didnt stop Artemisia. The Slaughter of Holofernes, a true inspirational painting showing
strength, courage, and motivation.

Work Cited
Contributors' Judith Slaying Holofernes(Naples Version)Christine Parker(1999-2011)
Contributors ' Judith Slaying Holofrenes-Artemisia Gentileschi- Chris Sternal-JohnsonFebruary
23, 2010
Contributors 'Judith Slaying Holofrenes- Carvagista 2012