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The Museum will be open, Friday, November 29 at 10 am. Artemisia Gentileschi Italian. The most famous woman painter of the seventeenth century, Artemisia worked in Rome, Florence, Venice, and Naples.
This painting, among her most ambitious, recounts the story of the Jewish heroine Esther, who appeared before King Ahasuerus to plead for her people, breaking with court etiquette and risking death. The story is conceived not as a historical recreation but as a contemporary theatrical performance.
Public Domain. Medium: Oil on canvas. Classification: Paintings. Accession Number: Timelines Rome and Southern Italy, A. Browse the Collection. Esther before Ahasuerus. The Artist: Artemisia Gentileschi is the most famous female artist of the seventeenth century. Earlier painters, such as Sofonisba Anguissola of Cremona ca. Her pictures often have violent themes with female protagonists and, rightly or wrongly, these have often been related to her biography.
She was trained in Rome by her father, Orazio Gentileschi — —one of the earliest followers of Caravaggio—and in was raped by an artist—Agostino Tassi—her father had engaged to teach her perspective. A trial ensued, and in she was married off to a minor painter Piermatteo Stiattesi and moved to Florence. Her peripatetic later career took her back to Rome —26 , Venice —30 , and Naples —52 , with a brief trip to London, where she seems again to have worked with her father Her reevaluation as a major figure in the history of European painting got under way with a fictional biography by Anna Banti in translated into English in It remains one of her most ambitious compositions.
When Ahasuerus's wife Vashti offended him, he replaced her with Esther, not knowing she was Jewish. After a decree went out that all the Jews in the Persian empire should be massacred, Esther intervened on behalf of her people, even though to enter the king's presence without being summoned was forbidden on pain of death.