The Passion of Artemisia by Susan Vreeland

Decent Essays

Review of The Passion of Artemisia by Susan Vreeland Both Artemisia’s father and Agostino Tassi, her father’s friend, had spent quite a bit of time teaching her the art of painting. When she was 18, Agostino Tassi, raped Artemisia Gentileschi of Rome during a lesson. When the rapist is tried by a court of the Inquisition, it’s more as if Artemisia is the criminal than Agostino—who gets off free (thanks partly to Artemisia’s father, his own interest in having his painting returned, trumping his daughter’s dignity) while Artemisia, after torture and public humiliation, is left only with a destroyed reputation. With father’s “help,” however, a husband is found; Artemisia marries Pietro Stiattesi, an artist, and moves to Florence, where her quotidian responsibilities do little to quench her visceral need for painting. She’s happy to be “in the art center of the world” and soon gives birth to a daughter. Through perseverance and passion she comes to the attention of powerful art patrons. She makes history by becoming the first woman elected to the Accademia dell'Arte, but makes waves with her husband as; predictably, he is envious of her growing fame as an artist. Pietro reverts to his womanizing ways and their relationship is barely held together by their daughter. Artemisia and her daughter, Palmira leave Pietro behind for a new patron to Genoa, but not before meeting Buonaretti the Younger, being introduced to the Medici court, and growing into a friendship with Galileo.

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