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Artemisia Gentileschi and the authority of art : critical reading and catalogue raisonné / R. Ward Bissell.


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Bissell, R. Ward.
Publication date:
University Park : Pennsylvania State University Press, c1999.
  • Book
  • xxiv, 446 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 29 cm.
Includes bibliographical references (p. [417]-425) and index.
Publisher's Summary:
One of the most memorable creative personalities of the Baroque age and arguably the most forcefully expressive and influential women painter in history, the Roman-born Artemisia Gentileschi (1593-1652/3) has become the central figure in the recovery of the history of art produced by women. Applying a rigorous methodology, this illustrated study with interpretive text and catalogue raisonne embeds Gentileschi's pictorially and emotionally compelling pictures within the actual sociocultural contexts in and for which they were created. The interpretive text analyzes key pictures and primary literary evidence to reveal the sweep of Artemisia's oeuvre, chart her travels, define her standing with artists and patrons of the period, investigate the links between her financial situations and the artistic decisions that she made, and assess the validity of proposals regarding her activity as a still-life painter, her access to professional organizations, her level of literacy and the nature of her subject matter. Many of the conclusions in the text are supported by a register of archival documents and by the very core of the study: a catalogue raisonne of Artemisia's autograph works, each of the 57 pictures investigated as to basic factual information, condition and colour, iconography, history, documentation and dating, existing copies, and bibliography. Catalogues of misattributed and lost paintings complete this comprehensive volume.
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