artemisia in rome & naples

One of my favorite artists is the Italian Renaissance painter Artemisia Gentileschi. Over the years her work has been difficult to view – some times because her work was mislabeled or away for restoration or on loan to another museum. Some of her work is in private collections and is spread throughout Italy, France, England and the US. She has a handful of important works in Florence, Naples and Rome. I’ve been obsessed with seeing all her work in person and studying her brilliant work.

I’ll be posting how to mini guides on seeing her work in person at museums (and latest news – a rare, previously unnamed fresco in the Vatican) and retracing her footsteps throughout Italy. A journalist acquaintance (the amazing Mozarella Mamma, American journalist in Rome) was inspired by my fixation on Artemisia to write a series of great articles on “An Italian Heroine.”


My digital portrait of my favorite artist, Artemesia Gentileschi’s painting Judith Slaying Holofornes in Naples, Italy, October 2012.

Artemisia Gentileschi (1593-1653), Judith Beheading Holofernes , oil on canvas, 158,8 x 125,5 cm, Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte, Naples

Giuditta e Oloferne di Artemisia Gentileschi è un quadro (olio su tela, cm 159 x 126) che si trova a Napoli nel Museo di Capodimonte (inv. Q 378), nella Galleria Napoletana.

READ MORE ON ARTEMESIA: Becoming Artemisia: Afterthoughts on the Gentileschi Exhibition* BY KEITH CHRISTIANSEN (Jayne Wrightsman Curator of Italian Paintings, The Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Read the PDF article:



Judith Slaying Holofornes by Artemisia Gentileschi in the Capidimonte Museum in Naples, Italy. There are a few more of her paintings in the next room.


Go see the only Artemisia Gentileschi paintings in Rome at the Spada Museum…


Artemisia Gentileschi’s two paintings at Rome’s Spada Gallery.


Artemesia Gentileschi, signature, Naples, Italy, Museo Capidimonte

9 thoughts on “artemisia in rome & naples

    1. Thank you Kate! And thank you for visiting the site – it’s just been coming together the last couple of weeks. Decided to finally create something out of the travels. 😉

  1. Hi, thanks for your visits to my blog. I like your post above, on this very interesting & very fine artist. (I teach art history) You could consider telling people some of the disturbing and sad, but very interesting background to Artemesia’s work & life. I’m sure you already intend to, as you know, your readers will find it very engaging. Its a sad but compelling story, as you’re obviously well aware. Look forward to that, and to future visits. Best regards- -Arran.

    1. Thank you Arran for visiting! I love your suggestion of getting into the core of Artemisia’s story. I have actually given little informal art history lessons in the Ufizzi in Florence in front of Judith Slaying Holofornes, explaining to at first bemused, later intrigued english speaking visitors that Gentileschi painted Judith as a most likely self portrait and Holofornes as the bastard who raped her after her failed rape trial against him. It’s really such a powerful work, isn’t it? And to see two versions of it with their own nuances. I was so fortunate to be in Rome last year when the Quirinale had an insanely wonderful Caravaggio (and the school of) exhibition. They brought a few Orazio Gentileschi’s on board – ones Artemisia had worked on – and her Susannah and the Elders (I thought I’d never live to see that paining as it’s usually in private collection in Germany and is only displayed rarely at a nice little museum house in an obscure part of Germany! I went to the exhibit 3 times and sat in front of that painting for about three hours total!

      You are living the dream! You teach art history? In Ireland?! That sounds so lovely to me, so incredibly lovely. I am by no means an art historian – I am however passionate about art and art history and I have spent years and hours looking at art and thinking about it and reading about it and making a little too. I really want to visit Ireland, also.

      I’ve been working on more Artemisia posts and will be delving more deeply into her in the near future!

      1. my pleasure Champagne,
        Interesting to hear about that Susannah & the Elders borrowed from Germany, as you say, a very rare chance to view. I smiled when you said that you ended up holding an impromptu talks in the Ufizzi, since i’ve ended up in a similar, semi-accidental role here many times. What tends to happen is I will take a small group of language students or even go with a visiting friend, and if the discussion gets detailed, you’ll often find other people start shyly stand on the edge, half-pretending not to listen. (I’m always flattered and invite them in) By way of clarification, although i have degrees in art & art history, and have taught both at high school and sort-of junior 3rd level college levels, I should state that I’m not a proper university lecturer or anything so grand. (too lazy & disorganized to do a PhD, for one thing) Instead I do things very informally, lead tours write worksheets to prompt ways of thinking, and of course use my blog to try to connect various ideas between history art and design, as i see them. Anyway, nice to meet a kindred spirit, I have to say that your passion for, and sensitivity to, the artworks clearly shines through in everything that you write. Keep up the great work. -Arran.

      2. Ha ha! Champagne! I sound like a burlesque act! You can call me Rebecca. Far more biblical sounding but I prefer the fictional characters who bore the name before me. Or would that also include the biblical ones too?

        Yes, viewing Susannah was such an opportunity. I was thrilled to grab it. There are some murals in England I’d love to see. Unfortunately these works tend to be owned by the royals. I have heard a rumor they do let visitors in from time to time at some of the houses. I went to England and France in the spring of 2000 but I stayed mainly in London.

        I love that I’m not alone in lecturing about the better bits of the paintings sans lecturer’s hat as well!

        It is so nice to meet a kindred spirit! Thank you for writing that my “passion for, and sensitivity to, the artworks clearly shines through in everything that you write.” That is wonderful to read and is much appreciated!

      3. my pleasure Rebecca. Amused by the image of the burlesque act. Although, would you believe, there really was a girl at my school whose name, on passport etc.. really was Champagne. But then, she also came from a small town named after her family. So that might explain it partially… Best regards-A.

      4. Isn’t is a lovely picture? I know someone with the last name of Champagne. (With my preferences I should have the last name of champagne or chardonnay or, on occasion, guinness.

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