The Passion of Artemisia
"Susan Vreeland set a high standard with Girl in Hyacinth Blue.... The Passion of Artemisia is even better.... Vreeland's unsentimental prose turns the factual Artemisia into a fictional heroine you won't soon forget." —People
A true-to-life novel of one of the few female post-Renaissance painters to achieve fame during her own era against great struggle. Artemisia Gentileschi led a remarkably "modern" life. Vreeland tells Artemisia's captivating story, beginning with her public humiliation in a rape trial at the age of eighteen, and continuing through her father's betrayal, her marriage of convenience, motherhood, and growing fame as an artist. Set against the glorious backdrops of Rome, Florence, Genoa, and Naples, inhabited by historical characters such as Galileo and Cosimo de' Medici II, and filled with rich details about life as a seventeenth-century painter, Vreeland creates an inspiring story about one woman's lifelong struggle to reconcile career and family, passion and genius.
Vreeland follows up the success of Girl in Hyacinth Bluewith another novel delving into the themes of art, history and the lives of women. Narrated in the wise, candid first-person voice of Italian painter Artemisia Gentileschi (1593 1653), the novel tells the story of Gentileschi's life and career in Renaissance Italy. Publicly humiliated and scorned in Rome after her participation as defendant in a rape trial in which the accused is her painting teacher (and father's friend) Agostino Tassi, Artemisia accepts a hastily arranged marriage at the age of 18 to Pietro Stiatessi, an artist in Florence. Her marriage, while not a love match, proves at first to be affectionate, and the arrival of a daughter, Palmira, strengthens the bond with her husband. But rifts soon develop as Artemisia begins to have some success: she wins the patronage of the Medicis and is the first woman to be elected to the Accademia dell'Arte before her husband. Studio and home become the battlefields of Artemisia's life, and Vreeland chronicles 20 years of the painter's struggles while raising her daughter alone. Details and visuals abound in the book; readers who loved the painterly descriptions of Girlwill be spellbound in particular by the scenes in which Artemisia is shown at work. While some threads in the story are frustratingly dropped and the narrative concludes before the end of Artemisia's life, the underlying themes of familial and artistic reconciliation are satisfyingly developed. Forthright and imaginative, Vreeland's deft recreation ably showcases art and life.
The Passion of Artemisia
Beautifully written and thoroughly enjoyed to the last page. The author understands the mind, heart and passion of an artist! A must read!
This would be a great book club discussion book. A historical novel is such a pleasant way to learn about so many things you thought you were not interested in. The author made Artisimia seem very real.
This book is a fascinating work of historical fiction. As with all Susan Vreeland's books, I always want to go and view the discussed art from the book! I loved it.