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Artemisia Gentileschi, daughter of Orazio Gentileschi, was a Baroque-period painter known for such works as "Madonna and Child, "Susanna and the Elders" and "Judith Slaying Holofernes."
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In 1625, Gentileschi again revisited Judith's story in the painting "Judith and Her Maidservant and with the Head of Holofernes"; this work conveys a sense of danger and mystery through its use of light and shadow, and shows Judith and her maid attempting to flee Holofernes's tent with his severed head. Gentileschi also tackled other well-known figures from history and mythology with such works as "Minerva" (1615) and "Cleopatra" (1621-22).
By 1630, Gentileschi had settled in Naples. Around this same time, she painted one of her best-known self-portraits, "Self Portrait as the Allegory of Painting." A short time later, in 1635, she completed another religious-themed work, "The Birth of St. John the Baptist."
Around 1639, Gentileschi traveled to England to work with her father. He had been commissioned by Queen Henrietta Maria, wife of King Charles I, to create a series of paintings for her home in Greenwich.
Gentileschi continued to paint for the rest of her days, but many experts conclude that her best works were completed in her early career. She died in Naples around 1652. During her lifetime, Gentileschi managed to do the unheard of: thrive in a male-dominated field as a woman. Today, she remains an inspiration, not only for her powerful artwork, but for her ability to overcome the limits and prejudices of her time.
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