Lots of amazing artists born this week in July - David Hockney, Whistler, de Chiricio, Artemisia Gentileschi, Pisarro.
Born into a family of artists, she trained under her father as the art studios of the time were closed to women artists. Although she lacked other kinds of formal training, by the time she was 17, she had painted one of the great masterpieces of Baroque art, "Susannah and the Elders."
Orazio painted frescos with the artist, Agostino Tassi, whom he asked to teach her daughter perspective. During these lessons, Tassi raped the 18 year old Artemisia, and promising to soon marry her, continued to demand her sexual favors. When her father found out, Tassi was arrested for rape, and Artemisia was thrust into the middle of a celebrated rape case which received considerable publicity and ruined her reputation. Tassi was convicted, but released by the judge, who also ordered Artemisia to be tortured as a means of proving her honesty. The transcripts of the trial are still available today.
Artemisia's accusations against Tassi were corroborated by a former friend of his who recounted Tassi's boasting about his sexual exploits at Artemisia's expense. Tassi had been imprisoned earlier for incest with his sister-in-law and was charged with arranging the murder of his wife. He was ultimately convicted on the charge of raping Gentileschi; he served under a year in prison and was later invited again into the Gentileschi household by Orazio! It is no surprise that she became estranged from her father.
During and soon after the trial, Gentileschi painted Judith Slaying Holofernes (above) (1612-1613). The painting is remarkable not only for its technical proficiency, but for the original way in which Gentileschi portrays Judith, who had long been a popular subject for art. One month after the long trial ended, in November of 1612, Artemisia was married to a Florentine artist, Pietro Antonio di Vincenzo Stiattesi, and they moved to Florence, probably the next year. While there, she had a daughter named either Prudentia or Palmira. In Florence, Gentileschi returned to the subject of Judith, completing Judith and her Maidservant in 1613 or 1614. Again, Gentileschi's treatment of the familiar subject matter is unexpected and original.
The Lute Player
The cause and timing of Artemisia's death is not known, but she most likely died in 1652. Unfortunately, however, the rape trial, her unconventional life as a female painter, and her numerous paintings of powerful women struggling against male dominance did not endear her to the male aristocracy. Several derogatory epitaphs were published about her in 1653, such as: "By painting one likeness after another/ I earned no end of merit in the world/ While, to carve two horns upon my husband's head/I put down the brush and took a chisel instead."
Judith and Her Maidservant
James McNeill Whistler (met.org/1rXVQbx) and Camille Pissarro (met.org/1oGs7Pl) were both born on July 10 pic.twitter.com/saqcpeUWqF
Whistler etchings at Lines and Colors: http://linesandcolors.com/2014/07/11/eye-candy-for-today-whistler-etching-of-wapping-warf/
I don't think that Hockney is the best artist in the group but his work is certainly colorful and popular.
He painted this work in 1963, the year he first visited LA. http://bit.ly/1oCFhg5
"All art is contemporary, if it's alive... if it's not alive, what's the point of it?"
Giorgio de Chirico, born July 10 in 1888, created what he called "metaphysical" paintings