April 23, 2014
Baroque Case Study
Dr. Carissa Massey
The Strongest Judith
A principal of European style in the visual arts of the 17th century and the first half of the 18th was the Baroque period, it was strongly based on the characteristics of a painter called, Caravaggio. Caravaggio had a talent for his use of naturalist realism and dramatic lighting and shading in his paintings. A student of Caravaggio and Orazio’s daughter, Artemisia Gentileschi was one of the great painters of the Baroque period. Artemisia Gentileschi was trained in a Caravaggisque style, her father and father’s internes, and different style types she learned in her 6 or 7 year study in Florence between 1615 and 1621, which created her distinctive career. Before refining her skills in Florence Artemisia was in Rome, and in the time of 1610 to 1621 she created her four most famous paintings; one of the most replicated painting done throughout time was the Judith Slaying Holofenes. Many artist have created the Judith painting; like Caravaggio, Orazio, Michelangelo, Botticelli, Donatello, and so on, but according to the legend of Judith in the Catholic Bible Artemisia seems to have been able to tell the tale of Judith in her one painting. Through the content of this paper I will be analyzing different artists’ works of the Judith painting, using content from articles and books to prove how Artemisia Gentileschi uses her painting to best portray Judith’s tale in her own work.
Utterly the Baroque period influences many works of artist up into present day, the art addresses the beholders senses, and thereby the emotions as much as the intellect. Forms, actions, and compositions are to be taken in at first glance, however long the eye may linger thereafter over details. Artemisia Gentileschi was one of the greatest female artist of the Baroque period that used the Baroque style in such a strong way that made her painting of Judith Slaying Holofenes such an influences to analyze. In the painting you can feel the blade digging into the bone and cords of flesh, the tiny flecks of blood spots Judith’s breast and dress have, as she stands over a dying enemy (Loughery 296). Even just to view this work Artemisia technique shows a strong powerful Judith over taking this war general Holofenes, which so important when interoperating the tale of Judith. The biblical heroine, Judith, an example of virtue and chastity, this painting is interoperating what is told in the Bible; the beheading her despised Assyrian enemy with her servant, whom Judith had tricked by seduction while keeping her purity safe. From the experience Artemisia had to overcome with her rape and public humiliating trail in Rome by a painter- friend of her father, Agostino Tassi, Artemisia could understand the view of Judith and what she had to do. The sexual abuse and her relationship with men lead Artemisia into the way she painted and what she painted. Artemisia’s career is about putting victimization behind her, even as many of her paintings themselves are about anger and revenge (295). Not even the great works of Botticelli, Donatello, Giorgione, Michelangelo, Tintoretto, Rubens, Rambrant, Goya, Caravaggio, and Orazio can’t compare to the emotion that Artemisia put into her painting that influenced a superior piece of work.
Although many artist bring the same idea to the painting many are influenced by the patrons, their own desire of techniques, and history of their lives. John Loughery writer of “Sexual Violence: Baroque to Surrealist” writes how the father and daughter duo of Orazio and Artemisia are a team learning from Caravaggio, when Caravaggio was transforming his technique into realism for Orazio (Loughery 293-294). It is true that the artist learn from each other, just how Artemisia learned from many people and how other works can be calmed by others or reconciled to be an artists’. An article “Florence, Casa Buonarroti Artemisia Gentileschi” by John T. Spike