- Paperback: 607 pages
- Publisher: Princeton University Press; Reprint edition (January 1, 1991)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0691002851
- ISBN-13: 978-0691002859
- Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 1.5 x 10.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 9 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #98,221 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Artemisia Gentileschi Reprint Edition
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"[This book] is doubly welcome, both for its hitherto underrehearsed subject--one of the most accomplished female practitioners in the history of art--and for the exceptionally keen and questing intelligence which the author brings to her task."--John Gash, Art in America
"Garrard brings her subject vividly to life as few scholars of the period have done for other artists.... [Her] powerfully argued, intelligent appreciation of every facet of Gentileschi's difficult life and artistic contribution will bring the artist a large, new audience."--Ann Sutherland Harris, The Women's Review of Books
"If you read only one art history book this year, it should be Mary D. Garrard's Artemisia Gentileschi."--Raymond B. Waddington, Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900
From the Back Cover
Artemisia Gentileschi, widely regarded as the most important woman artist before the modern period, was a major Italian Baroque painter of the seventeenth century and the only female follower of Caravaggio.
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But, with that said, it is a very heavy book. Perhaps Garrard may be forgiven for forgetting to explain things that may be evident to her, but I found myself having to go on the internet to look up what she was talking about a lot of the time. I do not specialize in Italian art history, but I have a pretty good foundation in art history. I found her use of phrases in foreign languages without an English translation tiresome, and I didn't like having to flip back forth through the book so often to get the meaning of a thought. If you have to sit by a computer because you know you're going to need it every couple of pages, there is a problem.
My other comment is that, while I respect Garrard's right to an educated opinion, it is just that. For instance, we don't know why Gentileschi painted several Judiths. It was a very popular subject then, and while her court experience and rape might well have led her to want to paint it, we simply do not know. Garrard repeats this and several other opinions ad nauseum, making and already ponderous tome even longer. I find Gentilschi's life and work fascinating, but I gave this book only three stars because, sadly, I am unlikely to have the desire/time to finish it. I am used to reading reference work, used to plodding through academic language, love comparisons with other artists of their time, and I'm willing to go the extra mile to understand an artist's work. But, after awhile I began to feel that Garrard cared more about publishing a brilliant work.
Sadly, I think that Artemisia got a little lost in this.
The reader can examine the phenomenal work of Gentileschi, who achieved a "privileged position" and was paid over three times more then her male counterparts on specific projects such as the "Galleria" of Michelangelo Buonarroti the Younger (Florence, 1615.) Twenty four color plates of Gentileschi's paintings and many black and white reproductions of examples from other artists of the Baroque period visually enhance the author's treatise on the unique position of this artist during her lifetime, but was kept outside the mainstream of male-dominated art history until the late 20th century.
Garrard revealed facts about Gentileschi's career such as membership in the Florentine Academy supported by the Medici family and her relationship with the English monarchy, confirming the value of this artists' place in history according to accepted standards.
As a student of artist biography in the popular format over scholarly art writing, I found the prose a bit heavy on the academic style, which at times slowed down my reading. Considering the author is a Professor of Art History and that the book was published by the Princeton University Press, I surmise that Garrard may have been trying to adhere to scholarly standards instead of pandering to a wider audience.
I did appreciate the author's scholarship and knowledge in the descriptions and comparisons of the motivation of male artists and their fixation on the stereotypes of females in painting, that continue to the present, resulting in a refreshing and updated view of art history.
Over all, I found this to be an interesting biography complete with specific details on Gentileschi's accomplishments and place in the art world of 17th century Italy and England.
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