Self-Portrait as the Allegory of Painting (c.1638-9) by Artemisia Gentileschi

Self-Portrait as the Allegory of Painting - Artemisia Gentileschi - 1638 - 1639

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Artwork Information

TitleSelf-Portrait as the Allegory of Painting
ArtistArtemisia Gentileschi
Date1638 - 1639
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions98.6 x 75.2 cm
Art MovementBaroque
Current LocationRoyal Collection (Buckingham Palace), London, UK
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About Self-Portrait as the Allegory of Painting

Artemisia Gentileschi’s Self-Portrait as the Allegory of Painting is a 1638-39 painting created during her time in England. In this painting, Gentileschi identified herself as the personification of painting, something that was not done by her male contemporaries. This painting was significant as it portrayed a skilled female artist in a position that was only depicted as female in metaphorical settings.

Gentileschi frequently used her own image in her works, and it is speculated that she painted self-portraits as an act of self-promotion. Self-portraiture was a tradition that Gentileschi fused with the allegory of Pittura, which represents painting itself. The result of this fusion is a self-portrait that represents Gentileschi’s skill as an artist while also symbolizing the act of painting.

In the painting, Gentileschi uses a mirror and a brush to depict herself painting on a canvas. The mirror reflects her face, while the brush is used to create the illusion of her painting in real-time. The painting’s overall effect is powerful and showcases Gentileschi’s talent while also being symbolic of painting as an art form. Overall, Self-Portrait as the Allegory of Painting is an iconic painting that continues to inspire and influence artists today.

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