In a few days' time the first part of a very interesting exhibition of Italian women painters, who lived between 1500 and 1800, will come to an end. The exhibition is taking place in Hartford, the capital of the State of Connecticut. In addition to Artemisia Gentileschi (1593-1654), the focus of the exhibition is on Sofonisba Anguissola (1532-1625) and Rosalba Carriera (1673-1757).
Usually when one thinks of modern Italian art, names such as Michelangelo, Sandro Botticelli or Caravaggio are mentioned. Meanwhile, such extraordinary figures are often forgotten: Artemisia Gentileschi, the first woman admitted to the Accademia del Disegno in Florence, Sofonisba Anguissola, court painter to King Philip II of Spain or Rosalba Carriera, a member of the French Academy and a renowned portraitist. All three were able to make a living from their work, all three already known during their lifetime, all three representing a different style in painting. A Renaissance painter (Sofonisba), a Caravaggisti (Artemisia) and a representative of the Rococo period (Rosalba) brought together in one exhibition show the wealth of female talent across different styles.
A series of exhibitions
The Hartford exhibition features some of Artemisia Gentileschi's most famous works, including a self-portrait dressed as a lute player in two versions and Judith with the Head of Holofernes. The exhibition is accompanied by a large catalogue which, among other things, describes the artists' paths to popularity in the then male-dominated art world.
In the state of Connecticut, the exhibition runs from 30 September 2021-9 January 2022, then moves to Detroit, where it will be on view from 6 February to 29 May this year. Less than a year ago, Gentileschi's first major exhibition ever took place from 3 October 2020 to 24 January 2021. It took place at the National Gallery in London and appears to have been the first in a long series of exhibitions showcasing the talent of this Italian painter.
The growing popularity of Artemisia Gentileschi is also reflected in auction prices. The beginning of the highs came in 2014, when a painting depicting Mary Magdalene sold for $1.17 million at Sotheby's in Paris. In 2019, as much as $5.3 million was obtained for Lucrezia at the auction house Artcurial, also in Paris. In all likelihood, prices for works by the Italian painter will remain high for a long time to come. At the upcoming auction at Sotheby's, the artist's paintings could go for more than $1.8 million, and in the case of the seated portrait, the amount could be as high as $3 million.