Saint Cecilia (c. 1620) by Artemisia Gentileschi

Saint Cecilia - Artemisia Gentileschi - 1620

Artwork Information

TitleSaint Cecilia
ArtistArtemisia Gentileschi
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions78.5 x 108 cm
Art MovementBaroque
Current LocationGalleria Spada, Rome
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About Saint Cecilia

Artemisia Gentileschi was a prominent Italian Baroque painter and is considered one of the most significant painters of the 17th century, and the most famous female artist of that time. One notable artwork by her is Saint Cecilia as a Lute Player created around 1620. It features Saint Cecilia playing a lute, while an organ can be spotted in the background.

What sets Gentileschi apart from her contemporaries is she used herself as the model for women characters in her paintings. Her unique style depicting heroic women was hailed by art critics of that period.

Her artistic talent manifested early in life under the guidance of her father, who ran a painting workshop where she trained along with other siblings. Gentileschi proved to be more adept than any of his children.

Sadly, at just 17 years old, Artemisia was raped by Agostino Tassi—a fellow painter—and this tragedy colored the rest of her life and can be seen throughout much of her artwork.

Despite those obstacles, Gentileschi persisted in creating sublime artwork that dealt with themes common to other Renaissance artists such as martyrdom, self-sacrifice, and devotion to faith.

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