Raised to the status of an international luminary by her contemporaries and now revered as one of the defining talents of the seventeenth century, Artemisia Gentileschi poses urgent questions for today's scholars. The recent outpouring of new attributions and archival discoveries has profoundly enriched our knowledge of the artist, but it has also complicated, and sometimes contradicted, the former storyline. If she was illiterate and unschooled, how did she befriend Galileo and court playwright Jacopo Cicognini? If she could not pay her bills, why did she continue to spend lavishly? How can we define her authorship if we admit workshop productions to her oeuvre? In these essays, an international cast of scholars and experts grapples with these problems, opening new paths of inquiry and laying bare their methodologies in fields as diverse as laboratory analysis, archival research, cultural history, literary analysis, and feminist art history. Among these approaches, connoisseurship takes center stage. By reconstructing the chronology and rationale of Artemisia's artistic iter, connoisseurship reveals the richness of her visual dialogues, including those with prominent contemporaries such as Caravaggio, Annibale Carracci, Vouet, Cristofano Allori, and Stanzione; with past artistic giants like Donatello and Michelangelo; and with the various hands who passed through her workshop as collaborators and assistants. These essays infuse our understanding of Artemisia with complexity and nuance, yet they also trace her characteristic mix of intelligence and verve in her art, her correspondence, and her deft social maneuvering, running like a thread through all stages of her life.
"Artemisia Gentileschi in a Changing Light is essential reading for scholars of Early Modern art history, and has much to recommend it. The authors employ a diverse array of methodologies, and the results offer not just fresh insights, but at times different, yet compatible ideas on the same paiting or situation." --Joyce de Vries, Woman's Art Journal, Vol. 39, No. 2 (2018)