The National Gallery have created a virtual version of their blockbuster new Artemisia exhibition which can be viewed on the gallery’s website. The tour, which will be hosted by the show’s curator Letizia Treves, will last for 30 minutes and cost £8 to view.
The exhibition explores the work of the female painter Artemisia Gentileschi. The daughter of the artist Orarion Gentileschi, Artemisia is widely considered to be the first female Old Master of renaissance art.
The first major retrospective of her work in the UK, Artemisia will bring together around 35 works from a variety of public and private collections, offering art lovers a thrilling introduction to the artist.
Featuring some of Artemisia’s most successful works, alongside a selection of recently discovered pieces, the collection will shine a light on one of the most influential female painters of all time.
“Although this film cannot replace the experience of seeing the exhibition in person at the National Gallery, it will allow us to share Artemisia’s story and paintings with as many people as possible, in particular those who cannot make it to Trafalgar Square right now.” Treves said in a statement about the new tour.
The new exhibition follows the galleries recent purchase of the artist’s Self-portrait as Saint Catherine of Alexandra. Costing an eye catching £3.6million pounds, eyebrows were initially raised at the purchase, however, given the work’s significance to the history of female art, the gallery felt that it was money well spent.
The exhibition was pushed back from its April opening due to the first lockdown, yet while the show was able to open in early October, the exhibition was quickly closed again due to the second lockdown.
The National Gallery is currently closed due to the second national lockdown; however, the gallery is expected to reopen on the 3rd of December when the current lockdown ends.
Artemisia was born in Rome in 1593. The daughter of painter Orazio Gentileschi, for many years Artemisia trained under her father. In 1611, Artemisia was raped by a friend of her father, the painter Agostino Tassi. A trial followed in 1612 with Tassi found guilty and punished by being banished from Rome. The punishment was never enforced however, with Tassi walking out of the court a free man.
Shortly after the trial, Artemisia married the Florentine artist Pierantonio di Vincenzo Stiattesi. Following the wedding, the pair moved to Florence. Despite giving birth to five children, Gentileschi never gave up her painting. Indeed, it was while in Florence that the artist gained the distinction of becoming the first woman to gain membership to the prestigious Academy of the Arts of Drawing.
After a period in Rome, Artemisia finally settled in Naples, where she set up a successful studio. Although her rape and subsequent trial cast a shadow over her career for many years, Gentileschi achieved much success in her life, producing work for a number of distinguished collectors.
Following her death, however, Gentileschi’s name quickly disappeared from art history and it is only now, hundreds of years later, that we are once again beginning to understand her significance on the history of Western Art.
The virtual tour of the Artemisia Exhibition will be available to view online until the 24th of January 2021.