Artemisia (book review) Alexandra Lapierre

Liz Heron (Translator)


210904: this is much more scholarly take on the story of [book:The Passion of Artemisia|8184087], so maybe not as easy to read, likely more accurate, certainly given the amount of research and notes that render this something between historical novel and art history work. i like it even more. when i took art history at u i really did not enjoy it, now i see it everywhere, love it everywhere, am endlessly fascinated by art. this is not my favourite era, favourite style, and some of the interest is biographical, but after all the theory, the critiques, the history- it is the art that matters and her work is powerful. will remember the first time i saw her 'judith slaying Holofernes' and the leering old men in 'Sussana at the bath'. do not know if if has bothered others but the famous 'rape of sabines always bothered me because... it always looked too much 'celebration'...


i particularly like the way authorial commentary, uncertainty, intrudes and captures the characters conflicting emotions, as in, did he see that his daughter would surpass him, was she still intimidated by an artist he no longer was etc...


rather than just focusing on the rape trial and immediate fallout, this work follows artemisia through the years by significant vignettes, change of scene, of characters, and she is not defined by what has happened but what she will do. which is paint admired pictures for nobility, church, and this edition has maps of Rome and Europe to situate, then examples (in full colour plates) of her work. perhaps still not my favourite sort of art, i have to admire the artwork...

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