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Artemisia

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An international best-seller, Artemisia is based on the passionate story of one of the Western world's first significant female artists. Born to the artist Orazio Gentileschi at the beginning of the 1600s, when artists were the celebrities of the day, Artemisia was apprenticed to her father at an early age, showing such remarkable talent that he viewed her as the most prec An international best-seller, Artemisia is based on the passionate story of one of the Western world's first significant female artists. Born to the artist Orazio Gentileschi at the beginning of the 1600s, when artists were the celebrities of the day, Artemisia was apprenticed to her father at an early age, showing such remarkable talent that he viewed her as the most precious thing in his life. But at the age of seventeen Artemisia was raped by her father's best friend and partner. The Gentileschi name was dragged through scandal, for Artemisia refused, even when tortured, to deny it happened. Indeed, she went further: she dared to plead her case in court. All of Rome was riveted by the trial. Artemisia won the case, but lost the love of her father and of all of Rome. Artemisia sought revenge through her art, portraying women liberating their fellow citizens from tyrants. Her stunning works took Rome by storm, overturning the prejudices of her time and winning the admiration of patrons, courtesans, and monarchs. Lapierre brings the historical Artemisia Gentileschi to vivid life, capturing the sights, sounds, and smells of Baroque Italy as well as the life of this remarkable woman.


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An international best-seller, Artemisia is based on the passionate story of one of the Western world's first significant female artists. Born to the artist Orazio Gentileschi at the beginning of the 1600s, when artists were the celebrities of the day, Artemisia was apprenticed to her father at an early age, showing such remarkable talent that he viewed her as the most prec An international best-seller, Artemisia is based on the passionate story of one of the Western world's first significant female artists. Born to the artist Orazio Gentileschi at the beginning of the 1600s, when artists were the celebrities of the day, Artemisia was apprenticed to her father at an early age, showing such remarkable talent that he viewed her as the most precious thing in his life. But at the age of seventeen Artemisia was raped by her father's best friend and partner. The Gentileschi name was dragged through scandal, for Artemisia refused, even when tortured, to deny it happened. Indeed, she went further: she dared to plead her case in court. All of Rome was riveted by the trial. Artemisia won the case, but lost the love of her father and of all of Rome. Artemisia sought revenge through her art, portraying women liberating their fellow citizens from tyrants. Her stunning works took Rome by storm, overturning the prejudices of her time and winning the admiration of patrons, courtesans, and monarchs. Lapierre brings the historical Artemisia Gentileschi to vivid life, capturing the sights, sounds, and smells of Baroque Italy as well as the life of this remarkable woman.

30 review for Artemisia

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kalliope

    A friend of a friend, who is a writer, recommended this biography to me a few years ago. This is my second read and I have enjoyed it more the second time. My reason for revisiting it was the upcoming exhibition in the London National Gallery devoted to Artemisia Gentileschi, an Italian female painter from the Baroque period. Originally scheduled for Spring 2020, it had to be canceled but the Museum has just announced that it will open on the third of October. I have read the catalogue in paral A friend of a friend, who is a writer, recommended this biography to me a few years ago. This is my second read and I have enjoyed it more the second time. My reason for revisiting it was the upcoming exhibition in the London National Gallery devoted to Artemisia Gentileschi, an Italian female painter from the Baroque period. Originally scheduled for Spring 2020, it had to be canceled but the Museum has just announced that it will open on the third of October. I have read the catalogue in parallel to this novel, Artemisia, and plan to review it also later on. In fact, the catalogue mentions this novel that Alexandra Lapierre published in 1998 as one of the stepstones in the rediscovery of this artist. But the foundations were set by Anna Banti who published the first novel on Artemisia in 1947. Banti is the pseudonym of Lucia Lopresti (1895-1985), wife of the famous art historian Roberto Longhi (the scholar who ‘discovered’ Caravaggio). Banti’s account has become a ‘classic’. (view spoiler)[ I have Banti’s biography, Artemisia purchased at the last moment in a bookshop in Bologna, in front of the two towers – but I have not read it yet). (hide spoiler)] Lapierre’s account is a engrossing mix of fact and fiction. She spent five years conducting research and includes about sixty pages in her Annex with original documentation and almost forty with her Bibliography. The novel therefore rings very true. But she also makes up, not only scenes in which we get the ‘feelings’ and ‘inner thoughts’ of the various characters, but also some fuller episodes. For example, one that emerges somewhat dissonantly is Artemisia’s supposed ‘affair’ with Nicholas Lanier (1588-1666), Master of Music to king Charles I. The pages on Lanier are nonetheless fascinating, since he also acted as an intermediary in the gathering of Charles’s fabulous art collection (his major triumph was the negotiation of the bulk purchase of the collection of the Dukes of Mantua, the Gonzagas). Lapierre has not benefited from the relatively recent discovery of Artemisia’s letters exchanged with Francesco Maria Maringhi, a wealthy nobleman from Florence who partly sustained her – and her husband. These letters were found in 2011 by the Italian scholar Francesco Solinas (one of the writers in the National Gallery catalogue). The love affair was with Maringhi, then, not with Lanier. Out of all the female painters who are resurging in the history of art in this period of feminist concerns (view spoiler)[ We had not long ago a very illuminating exhibition in the Prado on Sofonisba Anguissola and Lavinia Fontana Historia de dos pintoras: Sofonisba Anguissola y Lavinia Fontana and, longer ago, on Clara Peeters The Art of Clara Peeters (hide spoiler)] , Artemisia is the better artist and also had a gripping life and personality. Artemisia Gentileschi, or Artemisia Lomi (she changed her name depending on where she lived, to suit better her usage of local connections) was born in Rome in 1593. It helps situate her to think of her as a generation later than Caravaggio. She lived in her native city, in Florence (from where her family came), in Venice (not for long and where Lapierre situates her affair with Lanier), and at the end of her life in Naples. She died in 1656. We have to remember that all these cities were different political units. She was a child prodigy but as her father Orazio was an established painter and the person who taught her in a very possessive manner, it is now difficult to discern what exactly did she paint in her early age. By the end of her life her works were sought rabidly by most art collectors throughout Europe. These collectors included monarchs and the high levels of nobility. Her art was of the highest quality then. But she also stands out for two other reasons, which are often linked (rightly or wrongly is a matter of discussion). One is the sleazy curiosity raised by the fact that she was raped by a friend of her fathers (which renders – now and then – her various depiction of Susanna and the Elders all the more beguiling) but also because many of her paintings are of strong women (Judith, Lucretia, Jael, etc..). These women show no qualms about wielding violence as violent as it needs to be. For indeed her Judiths are depicted exerting all the strength required to cut through Holofernes’s thick neck (a much gorier version than Caravaggio’s), and her Jael is forcefully and unregretfully lifting her arm to strike a big nail through Sisera’s temple. The affair of the rape, as it happened when Artemisia was very young--in her mid teens--is construed by Lapierre at the very beginning of her novel. As we have the records from the court case, this section is fully fledged out, which I found somewhat tiring. I believe the documentation will be shown in the National Gallery. In my reading I was much more drawn by the way Artemisia later managed to get hold of her life, fully. She broke away from her father, from her husband, from her various lovers, from her patrons. She succeeded in finding her style, successfully, at a time when competition was intense (and violent in Naples) amongst painters. She gained full control in managing her business, promoting herself amongst the “crème de la crème” of the collectors of her day, pulling strings as it suited her (such as writing to her friend Galileo Galilei so that he would help her in cashing in the still unpaid commissions from the Grand Duke of Tuscany) and setting the economic conditions of her production. She was the first woman accepted in the very exclusive Florentine Accademia delle Arti del Disegno. If she did not pile up more money it was partly because she spent it grandly. She also suffered, however. But maybe not so much from the complex relationships she had with the men in her life (with the rape as the bad start) and from the difficulties in being an artist in a highly competitive environment, but because she lost her children. And this fully rounded personality Lapierre successfully fleshes out in her exemplary novel. The language is captivating and lush--I had to keep my dictionary nearby--, drawing the reader and leaving him/her with the impression that Artemisia was a plausible and exceptional woman. But as the most extraordinary aspect of Artemisia is her art, the reader will want to contemplate her paintings. And for this one has to turn to the exhibition. For one of the puzzling elements in her works is that even if her strong historical and biblical female figures became her trademark, the series of self-portraits also offer a very striking characteristic. If male painters strove to paint themselves as either “men of the intellect” or gentlemen somewhat distanced from the very physical profession of painters, she insistently represents herself as the ‘maker’. She certainly made her life. ***** The portrait heading the review is by Simon Vouet, 1623. Royal Palace of Naples.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Orsolya

    If you are unaware of Artemisia Gentileschi, then I can only say: shame on you! Arguably the most talented female painter of Baroque Italy, the victim of a rape and first public rape trial, and a true feminist; Artemisia is nothing short of amazing. Sadly, her work and life is less known to those outside of the art world. Alexandra LaPierre brings Artemisia Gentileschi to life in, “Artemisia”. “Artemisia” is a very unique novel, being difficult to describe in terms of format. Being neither a stra If you are unaware of Artemisia Gentileschi, then I can only say: shame on you! Arguably the most talented female painter of Baroque Italy, the victim of a rape and first public rape trial, and a true feminist; Artemisia is nothing short of amazing. Sadly, her work and life is less known to those outside of the art world. Alexandra LaPierre brings Artemisia Gentileschi to life in, “Artemisia”. “Artemisia” is a very unique novel, being difficult to describe in terms of format. Being neither a straight-forward HF novel but not a biographical fiction either; “Artemisia” is in a world of its own. LaPierre is heavy on the history revealing the life of Artemisia and also that of Baroque Italy, art, the artist lifestyle, etc. If looking for a dialogue-heavy work, “Artemisia” isn’t for you. Heavily researched, “Artemisia” satisfies art and history lovers alike and results in a “meaty” novel. Admittedly, the style of LaPierre’s “Artemisia” isn’t for everyone. The characters are lush but don’t follow traditional character developments or arcs. Have no fear though; the reader definitely gets to know each personality on an intimate level. Furthermore, the settings are also well-described but not overdone and do not overwhelm. Everything has a set place and natural flow. Speaking of flow, “Artemisia” has a strong momentum with a heavy heartbeat. The novel feels very much alive and is a true page-turner during which the reader begs to know what happens (even those familiar with the events). “Artemisia” is a novel which can not easily be put down. LaPierre’s text is beautiful and intelligent but not too flowery. She avoids the over-sodden metaphors common to most HF but still makes use of art both in content/plot and with her writing style. There are small annoyances, however; such as a few awkward transitions from pure historic sections to HF and the habit of asking the reader questions. My biggest quip against “Artemisia” is the focus on the scandal and drama with the art taking place on the back burner. Those new to Artemisia don’t truly learn of her passion and talent of painting. In fact, the psychological spotlight almost makes her to be a villain in some aspects versus a victim; which I don’t think was LaPierre’s aim. On the other hand, “Artemisia” has a well-balanced ratio of strong emotional events which truly move the reader along with an emphasis on historical events, resulting in a memorable history lesson. The last quarter of the book feels comparatively weaker to the previous sections and is sort of like a different novel, entirely. The content is very interesting and could deem its own novel but the Artemisia centralization feels lost (the reasoning for this is explained in the “Notes”, however). Despite this, the conclusion to “Artemisia” is emotionally unforgettable and rounds up the novel well. Worth mentioning is LaPierre’s thorough historic approach by including color plates, an after word, and approximately 140 pages of primary sourced notes making “Artemisia” more credible and accurate than many pure history works. A minor detail, but one requiring mentioning, is that “Artemisia” does contain some punctuation, grammar, and content errors (such as addressing characters by incorrect names). LaPierre’s “Artemisia” is extremely rich both in topic and presentation, strident with many layers, deep research, and satisfactory writing; displaying her passion for art and doing both the field and artist Artemisia, justice. The novel is much recommended for a plethora of readers including: HF fans, history lovers, art enthusiasts, devotees of Baroque Italy and the Medicis, artists, and of course: lovers of Artemisia, herself. The novel is also suggested for those who seek a deeper look at Artemisia after reading Susan Vreeland’s, “The Passion of Artemisia”. “Artemisia” isn’t perfect, but it is a wonderful novel on a woman who deserves much more attention than she received.

  3. 5 out of 5

    'Aussie Rick'

    This book by Alexandra Lapierre on the life of the female artist, Artemisia Gentileschi, is a fascinating study of the world of art and Europe during the seventeenth Century. Having read a few books on Caravaggio I had come across the name of Artemisia but knew very little of her other than that she had been raped by another artist and later went on to become quite famous herself. This book told the story of not only Artemisia and her art but also her father, Orazio Gentileschi, and showed how a This book by Alexandra Lapierre on the life of the female artist, Artemisia Gentileschi, is a fascinating study of the world of art and Europe during the seventeenth Century. Having read a few books on Caravaggio I had come across the name of Artemisia but knew very little of her other than that she had been raped by another artist and later went on to become quite famous herself. This book told the story of not only Artemisia and her art but also her father, Orazio Gentileschi, and showed how artistic rivalry, love, family, honour and a passion for art interlocked their lives and careers. The book is not a novel as the title suggests but is indeed a historical biography of Artemisia Gentileschi and her times. The author has used her skills as a novelist to fill gaps in the story of Artemisia but only with the greatest sense of historical correctness. The author has carried out extensive research on her subject and has used the results of this research to help fill the gaps in the story of this famous artist. She lets the reader know that at times she has fictionalised some of the narrative but never the facts. Alexandra Lapierre provides the reader with comprehensive notes and references to show the reader why she has decided to use certain narrative or placed a particular slant on her perspective of some events. I found that this manner of story telling in this particular account did not detract from the book in any fashion. It may not please those historians or experts in the field of art but to me, a novice, I found it a great approach to help the reader understand this great artist and the times she lived in. A number of colour plates are provided of not only Artemisia's paintings but also her fathers and other artists involved in her story. A number of maps have also been placed in the book to assist the reader with following the story, events and travels of Artemisia. The story itself was well told and in particular I found the account of the rape case very interesting. This is an intriguing and very enjoyable book and I hope that the idea of some of the narrative being fiction will not put other readers off. In fact the 80 pages of notes used by the author to support her account makes fascinating reading in themselves. The book is over 500 pages and I found it a very easy to read account and it has provoked in me a desire to learn more about this great female artist. This book is well worth the effort to sit down and read and I hope that many other readers out there enjoy this book as much as I did. Just for the interest other readers, in Australia the book is titled Artemisia: The Story of a Battle for Greatness. Following are some reviews taken from the back cover: "A book bristling with adventure, noise, passion and colour which recreates Baroque Italy in all its diversity, from the ballrooms to the torture chambers, from trials to marriages, from drinking parties to underground conspiracies" - Les Echos. "Alexandra Lapierre has succeeded in enabling a non-specialist of the seventeenth century (99.9% of the population) to experience an artist's struggle through great literature." - Elle.

  4. 4 out of 5

    AlexK_D1

    2021 REREAD UPDATE I didn't even realize that this was my third time reading this book. Apparently, I read it for the second time last year. I've been reading this every summer for three years straight, and it always leaves me fascinated and fully satisfied. I think it only gets better with each reread. The attention to detail and historical accuracy is just unbelievable. This time I also read the notes at the end of the book (length of a long chapter). I can only imagine the time and effort that 2021 REREAD UPDATE I didn't even realize that this was my third time reading this book. Apparently, I read it for the second time last year. I've been reading this every summer for three years straight, and it always leaves me fascinated and fully satisfied. I think it only gets better with each reread. The attention to detail and historical accuracy is just unbelievable. This time I also read the notes at the end of the book (length of a long chapter). I can only imagine the time and effort that Lapierre must have put into research. 2019 review This was one of those books that I dreaded to finish. Artist Artemisia Gentileschi's life in 17th century Europe was intense, passionate, and fascinating. The book explored the turbulent life of said Artemisia, an Italian Baroque painter who is now considered one of the most successful artists of her time. It also shines a light on Orazio Gentileschi, her father, who taught her how to paint. The author dedicates a significant portion of the book to the rivalry and companionship between the Gentileschi father and daughter. Surprisingly, this book did not make me feel as miserable as I expected. After all, Artemisia Gentileschi is famous for her rape by another artist Agostino Tassi, her father's friend, and daring to plead the case in court. The first part of the book is indeed distressing. Artemisia spends a good number of chapters trying to avoid Tassi, and for a reader who knows what will eventually happen, it is quite painful. However, the story of Artemisia Gentileschi as presented by Lapierre is about triumph. For the next half of the book, Artemisia goes on to become the most celebrated artist of her time, her career spanning the Florentine court of the Medicis to the court of Charles I in England. The book explores far beyond the scandalous rape case that overshadowed Gentileschi's life. Unlike what I expect from most translated works, the language is very poetic and stylistic. This is one of the more unique books that I have read. It switches from being a biography, a historical fiction, and an informational book. The narrator asks questions so many times that reading this book almost felt like a conversation with the author. The author includes actual letters between characters, court statements, records of transactions, and copies of Artemisia's paintings. I think some people might find this mix of genres and writing styles distracting and uncomfortable, but I personally enjoyed it. Although the book is very satisfying and enjoyable, the last few chapters feel rather weak. They felt like reading an entirely different book. Nevertheless, I appreciated the beauty of the writing, the vivid characters, the feelings the book evoked, and the amount of research the author put into this. Artemisia is an excellent blend of history, politics, love, and art (as well as a rather toxic father-daughter relationship). Fun:5/5 Writing Style: 5/5 Emotional Engagement: 5/5

  5. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    210904: this is much more scholarly take on the story of The Passion of Artemisia, so maybe not as easy to read, likely more accurate, certainly given the amount of research and notes that render this something between historical novel and art history work. i like it even more. when i took art history at u i really did not enjoy it, now i see it everywhere, love it everywhere, am endlessly fascinated by art. this is not my favourite era, favourite style, and some of the interest is biographical, 210904: this is much more scholarly take on the story of The Passion of Artemisia, so maybe not as easy to read, likely more accurate, certainly given the amount of research and notes that render this something between historical novel and art history work. i like it even more. when i took art history at u i really did not enjoy it, now i see it everywhere, love it everywhere, am endlessly fascinated by art. this is not my favourite era, favourite style, and some of the interest is biographical, but after all the theory, the critiques, the history- it is the art that matters and her work is powerful. will remember the first time i saw her 'judith slaying Holofernes' and the leering old men in 'Sussana at the bath'. do not know if if has bothered others but the famous 'rape of sabines always bothered me because... it always looked too much 'celebration'... i particularly like the way authorial commentary, uncertainty, intrudes and captures the characters conflicting emotions, as in, did he see that his daughter would surpass him, was she still intimidated by an artist he no longer was etc... rather than just focusing on the rape trial and immediate fallout, this work follows artemisia through the years by significant vignettes, change of scene, of characters, and she is not defined by what has happened but what she will do. which is paint admired pictures for nobility, church, and this edition has maps of Rome and Europe to situate, then examples (in full colour plates) of her work. perhaps still not my favourite sort of art, i have to admire the artwork...

  6. 5 out of 5

    Bonnie Wilson

    I trudged through about 100 pages of this with absolutely no enjoyment whatsoever. I did spend some minutes wondering exactly how to describe the writing - maybe a doctoral dissertation chopped up and interspersed with some very occasional dialogue and an omniscient author explaining the characters feelings? Not that I would know how a doctoral dissertation reads, but this sure does not read like a novel. I will credit the author for definitely not making this a "perky modern girl in period cost I trudged through about 100 pages of this with absolutely no enjoyment whatsoever. I did spend some minutes wondering exactly how to describe the writing - maybe a doctoral dissertation chopped up and interspersed with some very occasional dialogue and an omniscient author explaining the characters feelings? Not that I would know how a doctoral dissertation reads, but this sure does not read like a novel. I will credit the author for definitely not making this a "perky modern girl in period costume" read - from the beginning - when Orazio Gentileschi takes his six-year-old daughter Artemisia to the very foot of a scaffold and holds her up to get a good view of a young girl being beheaded - we are absolutely not anywhere near the 20th Century. The volume does have some high-quality photos of some of Artemisia's paintings. Looking at Artemisia's paintings in the book and in some images online they are very rich, lush, and I think her women's faces are quite remarkable. The Baroque is not my favorite period in painting, nor do these gruesome topics appeal to me - but can one wonder at them, given the artist having been taken to public executions as a young child? Still, I am sorry that when I was in the Uffizi I missed seeing some of hers that are on display there. (I was too staggered wandering from Lippi to DaVinci to Michaelangelo to Botticelli - nothing, nothing can prepare the mind for seeing these paintings in person, they seem impossible, like miracles - and I had a hard time tearing myself away from them.) Too bad the author's prose does not have any of the life of that painting. In my opinion of course - the review quotes - words like "masterpiece" are used - make it obvious I'm in the minority. Maybe it turns wonderful after the first hundred pages .... my loss, then. I'm not willing to give it any more time.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Malcolm

    Artemisia Gentileschi is one of the most intriguing women of the European Renaissance, possibly one of the most intriguing women ever, but this biographical novel is problematic. One the one hand, I want to praise it for laying out her life and for its presentation of the difficult existence of a serious woman artist in 17th century Italy. It is a novel that comes with 130 pages of notes and references and 16 pages of full colour plates featuring much of her most well known work along with sever Artemisia Gentileschi is one of the most intriguing women of the European Renaissance, possibly one of the most intriguing women ever, but this biographical novel is problematic. One the one hand, I want to praise it for laying out her life and for its presentation of the difficult existence of a serious woman artist in 17th century Italy. It is a novel that comes with 130 pages of notes and references and 16 pages of full colour plates featuring much of her most well known work along with several of her father's. But it is a novel, not a biography, and while I understand the need to depict in fictional form to get to the rich complexity of her life, it just did not convince. I am not sure if the problem lies in Lapierre's writing style of in Liz Heron's translation, but it is depressing that the fictionalisation is argued to be necessary to draw out the Gentileschi's existence but finishes up in so many places being so unconvincing and in some so obviously a plot device. This isn't to say it is a bad book – just that Anna Banti's biographical novel and Mary Garrard's two serious art history studies are much better. Read it as historical fiction, not as a biography – if you want a biography, consult the 50 page bibliography.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca Huston

    Out of the three novels that I've read about Artemisia, this one is my favourite, and the one that is the best written. This is the one to go to for a good read, and some understanding of the sensationalistic rape trial that marred Artemisia's youth, but may have been what turned her into such an expressive artist. For the longer review, please go here: http://www.epinions.com/content_31116... Out of the three novels that I've read about Artemisia, this one is my favourite, and the one that is the best written. This is the one to go to for a good read, and some understanding of the sensationalistic rape trial that marred Artemisia's youth, but may have been what turned her into such an expressive artist. For the longer review, please go here: http://www.epinions.com/content_31116...

  9. 5 out of 5

    Emilie Guan

    @alex : D ap o l og i e s first off: part I did kind of drag a lot mainly because ozario is so uninteresting as a character to me. like don’t get me wrong, he’s definitely interesting, but for an interesting character he sure is profoundly uninteresting it boggles my mind. however, from the first scene i knew that i would freaking love lapierre’s writing because it’s god-tier atmospheric. do you want to read a lush, dramatic epic? yes you do. back to ozario though. the novel, especially part I, de @alex : D ap o l og i e s first off: part I did kind of drag a lot mainly because ozario is so uninteresting as a character to me. like don’t get me wrong, he’s definitely interesting, but for an interesting character he sure is profoundly uninteresting it boggles my mind. however, from the first scene i knew that i would freaking love lapierre’s writing because it’s god-tier atmospheric. do you want to read a lush, dramatic epic? yes you do. back to ozario though. the novel, especially part I, definitely focuses on this father-daughter relationship, but I honestly really didn’t enjoy reading about it? do i really care about ozario? no not really. therefore their tortured rivalry/relationship did not elicit as much reaction as it probably hoped to either. once we get to part II and artemisia embarks on her own journey, though, is when things get interesting artemisia’s character arc is really amazing to read, and honestly she shines in every scene she’s in. she’s just a freaking trailblazer?? from the moment she stands for her own rape trial, to the second time she sees tassi and just shoots him a don’t fuck with me glare is just. 12/10. i can’t really articulate why i dislike ozario’s character so much, but artemisia and her solo artist journey and paintings of nude women exacting violent emancipation via decapitation makes her so compelling. this review is a mess but back to the writing. A red-gold blaze, with flames appearing to dance on a golden platter, with light and shadow fashioning solid matter into a precious casket. the historical scale undertaken is enormous and well-executed, and it doesn’t get bogged down (sans ozario) because of the stunning language. the ending was definitely not as grand a conclusion as i expected probably because there was too much ozario, but an overall very satisfying and immersive read.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    To be send to Chrissie in Belgium. And then to Virginie in France. Some of her paintings can be find at: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Art... And also at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artemisi... Great book, even if the rape episode took so long. To be send to Chrissie in Belgium. And then to Virginie in France. Some of her paintings can be find at: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Art... And also at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artemisi... Great book, even if the rape episode took so long.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sandie

    Art historians have always had an almost romantic attachment to Artemisia Gentileschi, one of the few female post-Renaissance painters to achieve fame during her own lifetime. Trained as an artist by her famous father, Orazio Gentileschi, she was a woman with 21st century ideas and ideals forced to deal with being born in the 17th century. Raped at age seventeen by an associate of her father she filed a complaint and took the matter to trial (a scandalous and unheard of event in 1612 when women Art historians have always had an almost romantic attachment to Artemisia Gentileschi, one of the few female post-Renaissance painters to achieve fame during her own lifetime. Trained as an artist by her famous father, Orazio Gentileschi, she was a woman with 21st century ideas and ideals forced to deal with being born in the 17th century. Raped at age seventeen by an associate of her father she filed a complaint and took the matter to trial (a scandalous and unheard of event in 1612 when women had little voice). The fascinating story of Artemisia is brought to life by Alexandra LaPierre as she paints a word picture of the many events that shaped the life of this remarkable Baroque artist. In an era when female painters were not easily accepted by the artistic community or patrons, she was the first female painter to become a member of the Accademia di Arte del Disegno in Florence and to have her works commissioned by Popes and the nobility. LaPierre encourages readers to examine her well researched details of the love/hate/jealousy/betrayal relationship between father and daughter, as well as the artist’s marriage of convenience, and her attempt to balance her growing fame as an artist with motherhood. The back of this book contains almost 65 pages of scrupulous notes that add to the “history” of this enlightening tale. This is a must read for art history majors or anyone who enjoys well researched historical fiction. For those who like their history on the lighter side, a novel by Susan Vreeland called The Passion of Artemisia is your alternate choice.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Arielle

    It says on the cover that this is a novel, but I don't know if that's what this book is. The author tried to create this odd hybrid of historical fiction while simultaneously inserting chunks of what reads a lot like non-fiction. Which was incredibly frustrating for this reader: I say, pick a side. Additionally, the writing was not good. It's very possible that the cause of this was a poor translation because the language felt clunky and sort of haphazard. I had to force myself to get through th It says on the cover that this is a novel, but I don't know if that's what this book is. The author tried to create this odd hybrid of historical fiction while simultaneously inserting chunks of what reads a lot like non-fiction. Which was incredibly frustrating for this reader: I say, pick a side. Additionally, the writing was not good. It's very possible that the cause of this was a poor translation because the language felt clunky and sort of haphazard. I had to force myself to get through this book-- never a good thing. The life of Artemisia is so complex, vibrant and violent and I felt the language and mode of writing did not express that.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sequana

    I read this book as an audio book and it captured my interest from the first few moments. The reader was fabulous, using expressiveness and well pronounced Italian to bring the story to life. I have enjoyed several books that fictionalize the life of artists, especially women. This is one of my favorites, though it has been several years and my memory of the details is not as sharp as I would like. Artemisia is a strong and compelling character and the writing is lovely. I recommend this book if y I read this book as an audio book and it captured my interest from the first few moments. The reader was fabulous, using expressiveness and well pronounced Italian to bring the story to life. I have enjoyed several books that fictionalize the life of artists, especially women. This is one of my favorites, though it has been several years and my memory of the details is not as sharp as I would like. Artemisia is a strong and compelling character and the writing is lovely. I recommend this book if you enjoyed Girl With A Pearl Earring.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Annette

    At first, I wasn’t sure if I got the correct book as this was supposed to be a novel and not non-fiction. The read is certainly very dry. It is more fit for those who need to write a paper-work on Artemisia. If you’re looking for a novel about Artemisia, highly recommend The Passion of Artemisia by Susan Vreeland.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    At first I thought this book was too trashy for me to enjoy properly, but then I realized how deeply the author had researched her subject. Lapierre definitely presents things in a dramatic light, but to her credit, her protagonist was clearly living in a sensational time.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    History of Artemisia Gentileschi, a famous painter of 17th century Rome, her father, and the rape that shaped her life. Fascinating view of Italian society of this era and the world of painters.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Leah Randall

    Man, did I want to love this book. I find the real Artemisia fascinating and was eager to delve more into her world. While I think this book does a good job at fleshing out the world and the characters, I found the prose to be a bit too florid and contrived - it was a bit of a slog to get through, especially as I got into the back third of the book, which somehow felt both rushed and overly dense. I was not particularly impressed with the way Artemisia's sexual assault (and her sexuality in gene Man, did I want to love this book. I find the real Artemisia fascinating and was eager to delve more into her world. While I think this book does a good job at fleshing out the world and the characters, I found the prose to be a bit too florid and contrived - it was a bit of a slog to get through, especially as I got into the back third of the book, which somehow felt both rushed and overly dense. I was not particularly impressed with the way Artemisia's sexual assault (and her sexuality in general) was handled. Parts of his book feel voyeuristic, and not in an exciting way... in an exploitative way. If you have no interest in art history - especially the intrigues of Baroque Italy - you'll probably find it dull. If you enjoy all things Baroque, you might like it! It reminded me a lot of "The Agony and the Ecstasy" - those who love that book may like this one as well. Altogether, this book is fine. Just fine. Regardless, please check out Artemisia Gentileschi's work. It's stunning and enthralling - even to me, a modern art snob!

  18. 5 out of 5

    annika

    very much a slog...

  19. 4 out of 5

    Earl Grey Tea

    I was torn between giving this book two or three stars. It receives two because after the novelty of the book wore off, reading this felt like a chore. Artemisia straddles both the historical-fiction and non-fiction history genres. Alexandra Lapierre filled the latter pages of the book with all of her notes and references to her research. This is well researched and not just a story inspired by the time period. The author's style of writing can be divided up into three formats throughout this book I was torn between giving this book two or three stars. It receives two because after the novelty of the book wore off, reading this felt like a chore. Artemisia straddles both the historical-fiction and non-fiction history genres. Alexandra Lapierre filled the latter pages of the book with all of her notes and references to her research. This is well researched and not just a story inspired by the time period. The author's style of writing can be divided up into three formats throughout this book. 1. The reporting of historical facts and events to set world this story takes place in. 2. Description of everyday activities and events based on historical research to set the various scenes throughout the book. An example of this would be the description of a priest conducting mass. While it probably didn't happen exactly this way on that day, it is based off what people did in their relevant time period and cultures. 3. What the characters thought and said to each other base completely on the authors imagination to drive the plot. I enjoyed the TV series Rome which took liberties with the historical records to create a modern historical drama. With that TV show, I knew it was inspired by actual events and didn't take the dialogue too seriously. By the end of the show, I had an idea of this time period, was entertained, and wanted to learn more. With Artemisia, the fluidity between historical fact and fiction wasn't there. Sometimes it felt like reading a dry (but at times interesting) history book. Other times it felt more akin to a romance novel. The constant shifting between academic text and flowery prose left me unfulfilled. Paragraphs of court documents translated directly from the archaic Italian would be interspersed with how Artemisia or her father felt about each other and their art. A page of dialogue we be spread out over ten pages as paragraphs upon paragraphs historical background information would appear after a four lines of conversation. Instead of trying to be both a history book and a historical fiction, the author should have chosen one style and stuck with it. A history book based on nothing but documented information can be written in a riveting manner that will tell the story of Artemisia. A historical fiction can be an emotional roller coaster that show strong character development while giving the reader a sense of 17th century Europe and its art world. Trying to do both just left me irritated.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Arostegui

    An international best-seller, Artemisia is based on the passionate story of one of the Western world's first significant female artists. Born to the artist Orazio Gentileschi at the beginning of the 1600s, when artists were the celebrities of the day, Artemisia was apprenticed to her father at an early age, showing such remarkable talent that he viewed her as the most precious thing in his life. But at the age of seventeen Artemisia was raped by her father's best friend and partner. The Gentiles An international best-seller, Artemisia is based on the passionate story of one of the Western world's first significant female artists. Born to the artist Orazio Gentileschi at the beginning of the 1600s, when artists were the celebrities of the day, Artemisia was apprenticed to her father at an early age, showing such remarkable talent that he viewed her as the most precious thing in his life. But at the age of seventeen Artemisia was raped by her father's best friend and partner. The Gentileschi name was dragged through scandal, for Artemisia refused, even when tortured, to deny it happened. Indeed, she went further: she dared to plead her case in court. All of Rome was riveted by the trial. Artemisia won the case, but lost the love of her father and of all of Rome. Artemisia sought revenge through her art, portraying women liberating their fellow citizens from tyrants. Her stunning works took Rome by storm, overturning the prejudices of her time and winning the admiration of patrons, courtesans, and monarchs. Lapierre brings the historical Artemisia Gentileschi to vivid life, capturing the sights, sounds, and smells of Baroque Italy as well as the life of this remarkable woman.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Dixie

    This was a challenging read for the first 100 pages. The format was unclear: Is it a novel, an exploration, or biography? But once adjusted to the questions posed to the reader (which sound like the author thinking aloud to herself), all the unfamiliar names of 17th century painters and people, Pope Paul V and all his cardinals and behind-the-scenes human connections, and the lengthy writing to get to the story of Artemisia post rape, then the writing and story begin to take shape. What one lear This was a challenging read for the first 100 pages. The format was unclear: Is it a novel, an exploration, or biography? But once adjusted to the questions posed to the reader (which sound like the author thinking aloud to herself), all the unfamiliar names of 17th century painters and people, Pope Paul V and all his cardinals and behind-the-scenes human connections, and the lengthy writing to get to the story of Artemisia post rape, then the writing and story begin to take shape. What one learns about Artemesia and all she accomplished during a time of extreme limitation for women in any forum, especially the arts, it is a wonder. The notes section shows Lapierre's research skills and determination to provide a fuller picture of a person almost forgotten. I found myself reading the notes section during the corresponding chapter and before. Both work, but it is easy to get caught up in the notes section. I think it is a remarkable story of a trailblazing woman.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Karen Smithson

    Artemisia by Alexandra Lapierre is a novel about the life of the Baroque artist Artemisia Gentileschi. The novel is written in the 3rd person omniscient point of view which can be disorienting to some readers since the narrator is telling the story. Being in the thoughts of two different characters in the same paragraph can be a bit jarring for those who are unfamiliar with this writing style. The author provides pages of notes and the book is well researched. If you are interested in learning a Artemisia by Alexandra Lapierre is a novel about the life of the Baroque artist Artemisia Gentileschi. The novel is written in the 3rd person omniscient point of view which can be disorienting to some readers since the narrator is telling the story. Being in the thoughts of two different characters in the same paragraph can be a bit jarring for those who are unfamiliar with this writing style. The author provides pages of notes and the book is well researched. If you are interested in learning about a fascinating artist of the 17th Century and don't mind this particular literary style, then I recommend the book.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Hermine Harman

    A heart wrenching book about a woman who suffered at the hands of men but her talent and commitment to her passion carried her through! I applaud her being the first woman in L’Academia D’Arte in Florence and her courage to live her life pursue through so many challenges and roadblocks! Beautifully written !

  24. 5 out of 5

    Joanne

    Alexandra Lapierre leaves no stone unturned in her historical research. Her dramatic prose turns every one of her books into page-turners, in the very best sense of the word. Artemisia's story will fascinate for decades to come! Visit Lapierre's site: http://www.alexandralapierre.com/en_s... In Paris, Musee Maillol has mounted an amazing exhibit of the work of Artemisa Gentileschi, 14 March through 15 July 2012. If you can't make it to rue du Bac, read Alexandra Lapierre's "Artemisa: A Novel." Yo Alexandra Lapierre leaves no stone unturned in her historical research. Her dramatic prose turns every one of her books into page-turners, in the very best sense of the word. Artemisia's story will fascinate for decades to come! Visit Lapierre's site: http://www.alexandralapierre.com/en_s... In Paris, Musee Maillol has mounted an amazing exhibit of the work of Artemisa Gentileschi, 14 March through 15 July 2012. If you can't make it to rue du Bac, read Alexandra Lapierre's "Artemisa: A Novel." You won't be able to put it down!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    This wonderful novel is an art history lesson and gripping personal saga rolled into one. The depth of Lapierre's historical research and knowledge of art is apparent throughout this heart-wrenching story. Artemisia's ordeal in itself is fodder for a gripping story. Yet the details of her personal tragedy are transcended by her ground-breaking paintings, in which all her rage, passion, and determination to vindicate herself are vividly revealed. What a treat this book is, and what an education! This wonderful novel is an art history lesson and gripping personal saga rolled into one. The depth of Lapierre's historical research and knowledge of art is apparent throughout this heart-wrenching story. Artemisia's ordeal in itself is fodder for a gripping story. Yet the details of her personal tragedy are transcended by her ground-breaking paintings, in which all her rage, passion, and determination to vindicate herself are vividly revealed. What a treat this book is, and what an education!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Nadia

    Detailed insight into the life and times of the first famous female artist during the Baroque period in Europe. Well researched political and religious history interwoven with the day to day life of international artists competing for lucrative commissions and social status. Artemisia's personal and professional life is based on the court case interviews of her well documented rape and torture (to prove her innocence) in Italy. Bonus research notes at the end detailing history verses fiction and Detailed insight into the life and times of the first famous female artist during the Baroque period in Europe. Well researched political and religious history interwoven with the day to day life of international artists competing for lucrative commissions and social status. Artemisia's personal and professional life is based on the court case interviews of her well documented rape and torture (to prove her innocence) in Italy. Bonus research notes at the end detailing history verses fiction and my interest in artists/art history makes it 5 stars.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Lisasue

    I enjoyed this book very much, but found at times that it awkwardly shifted between the more scholarly tone of a biography with the narrative of pure fiction. The story of her life is just fascinating, and I suppose that is what carries it along, but sometimes that weird fusion just was strange to read. I definitely appreciated the inclusion of prints of the artist's works in the book, since that added to the experience of the story of Artemisia's life and work. Overall, I would recommend this f I enjoyed this book very much, but found at times that it awkwardly shifted between the more scholarly tone of a biography with the narrative of pure fiction. The story of her life is just fascinating, and I suppose that is what carries it along, but sometimes that weird fusion just was strange to read. I definitely appreciated the inclusion of prints of the artist's works in the book, since that added to the experience of the story of Artemisia's life and work. Overall, I would recommend this for those that are interested in art history, Italian history and the renaissance.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I was reminded of this book when I visited the National Museum for Women in the Arts exhibition called Italian Women Artists from Renaissance to Baroque. They had several paintings by Artemisia including those described in the book. It was amazing to see them in person. Now I'll have to re-read the book. I was reminded of this book when I visited the National Museum for Women in the Arts exhibition called Italian Women Artists from Renaissance to Baroque. They had several paintings by Artemisia including those described in the book. It was amazing to see them in person. Now I'll have to re-read the book.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    I typically don't enjoy historical fiction, but the story of Artemisia Gentileschi is so extraordinary that the "fiction" is mostly just a dose of speculated emotion used to flesh out the facts. A respected artist at a time when women were unrecognized in any creative endeavor and survivor of rape, Artemisia's works focused on powerful women of the bible. A feminist before there was such a thing, she is someone women should get to know. I typically don't enjoy historical fiction, but the story of Artemisia Gentileschi is so extraordinary that the "fiction" is mostly just a dose of speculated emotion used to flesh out the facts. A respected artist at a time when women were unrecognized in any creative endeavor and survivor of rape, Artemisia's works focused on powerful women of the bible. A feminist before there was such a thing, she is someone women should get to know.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    Elegant yet messy. The prose is beautifully constructed; this is a sensuous and evocative read. Sadly it is not always a novel - clearly the author's imagination reverts to primary source analysis and the text drops from narrative to recount. It's the reading equivalent of a poorly constructed documentary where historical facts are briefly illuminated by imaginative re-enactments. It's a shame: as a historical treatise it has no thesis and as a novel the discontinuity in style is jarring. Elegant yet messy. The prose is beautifully constructed; this is a sensuous and evocative read. Sadly it is not always a novel - clearly the author's imagination reverts to primary source analysis and the text drops from narrative to recount. It's the reading equivalent of a poorly constructed documentary where historical facts are briefly illuminated by imaginative re-enactments. It's a shame: as a historical treatise it has no thesis and as a novel the discontinuity in style is jarring.

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