Picks and Pans Review: Artemisia
Artemisia Gentileschi (1593-1653) is today considered the greatest woman painter of the Baroque period—not only by default (few women in 17th-century Italy were encouraged to take up the brush) but because of her spectacularly violent portrait of Judith, the Old Testament heroine, slicing off the head of her enemy, the Assyrian general Holofernes. (Has Sister Wendy gotten to this one yet?) The sketchy instruction that led to that masterpiece, painted when Artemisia (Cervi) was only 17, was provided first by her indulgent father, Orazio (Serrault), himself a prominent painter of the period, and then by another artist, Agostino Tassi, who became her lover. Discovering the relationship, Artemisia's father, suddenly less indulgent, sued Tassi. The lovers came to trial, and Artemisia was tortured to confess the affair.
This chapter from art history ought to make a fascinating movie, but the French-language Artemisia is romantic mush. The point seems to be that the artistic genius of the headstrong young woman is unleashed only by Tassi's intimate anatomy lessons. But Cervi's Artemisia, bosom heaving with desire, would have drawn Fabio, not Holofernes. (R)
Bottom Line: Uninspired
On Newsstands Now
- Kim's Delivery Room Drama!
- Katie: A Year After Split
- Princess Kate: Palace's Baby Plan Revealed
Pick up your copy on newsstands
Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine