Vitae & Bibliography --- Home --- Contact / Pricing Information --- Guided tour of four installations by the artist

Chapter I ---- Chapter II ---- Letters



P R O L O G U E

"September 11, 1599: The Cenci Execution"
88" x 180", mixed media, 2000

Francesco Cenci, an influential Roman nobleman, had a history of criminal offenses. In 1593, his mistress, "la bella Spolentina" (the beauty from Spoleto), brought suit against him for extreme cruelty. In 1594, he was tried by a papal court for sodomy and cruelty and though he was found guilty, he bought his freedom by paying the papal treasury. After his first wife's death, Francesco married Lucrezia Petroni, a widow with three daughters. Life in the Cenci Palace was made unbearable by Francesco . In 1595, he locket up his wife and young daughter, Beatrice, in a castle outside of Rome. Young Beatrice soon became involved with Olimpio Calvetti, the castle warden. She conspired with Olimpio and her brothers, to kill Francesco. On Sept 9, 1598, they put a nail into his head and threw his body out the window.

The Family went into mourning. Olimpio and the hired assasin were caught and confessed to the murder. Lucrezia, Beatrice and the brothers were arrested and tortured into confessions. The defense insisted that they were driven to the act by the father's behavior, but they were condemned to death. Pope Clement VIII ignored the public's pleas for mercy. On September 11, 1599, Beatrice and her mother Lucrezia were beheaded on the square facing the Castel Sant'Angelo

This drawing depicts the procession of Romans paying tribute to Beatrice and Lucrezia. It is speculated in Helen Langdon's 1998 book, Caravaggio, that young Artemisia, accompanied by her father Orazio and Caravaggio attended this event, hence she is depicted clutching her father's cape and reaching for Caravaggio's hand.

(Adapted from Ernest O. Hauser, Italy: A Cultural Guide, New York: Atheneum, 1986)


The Curious
54" x 60", oil and acrylic on linen, 2000

Artists look back as much as they look forward. This painting is an attempt to capture the perceptual experience of the museum, i.e., the way the eyes of the viewer and the viewed interweave. Artemisia Gentileschi, the young artist who studied ancient sculpture and painting under her father's instruction is depicted in this work. As did the Carracci and Caravaggio, she works in Rome where the ancient is ubiquitous. Artemisia studies Hermaphroditus, the bisexual born of Aphrodite and Hermes. The painting on the wall of a "perfume mixer" is an Alchemist and an Etruscan vase (6th century B.C.) is fascinated by the curious artist. This intersection between historical fact and contemporary ambiguity informs us - much as it did Artemisia.
to come before "The Curious."



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Artemisia Gentileschi
C H A P T E R -- I

ROMAN FEVER
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Artemisia Gentileschi
C H A P T E R -- I I

PATRONS AND CELEBRANTS
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Artemisia Gentileschi
A P P E N D I X

LETTERS
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Vitae & Bibliography --- Home --- Contact / Pricing Information --- Guided tour of four installations by the artist