Judith and her Maidservant with the Head of Holofernes
Artemisia Gentileschi (1593-1653)
72 3/8 x 55 3/4 in.
oil on canvas
Image: Detroit Institute of Arts (52.253)
If one were to think that women artists of the 19th century had difficulty being taken seriously, imagine the world in which women artists of the 17th century had to compete for their careers and existence in. Gentileschi was trained by her a father, the painter, Orazio Gentileschi. Much of her work as only recently been attributed to her, as it was often attributed to Orazio. As a result of this and her time she was marginalized as an artist for many years, only somewhat recently coming to the forefront of art historical scholarship.
Her father introduced her to artists, and one can see the influence of Caravaggio in the chiaroscuro of her work. The strength in her work is striking. I didn't choose Gentileschi's painting of the actual decapitation of Holofernes (I like the light in this one better) but in order to see some of the differences between approaches to depicting the scene through art, see Judith and Holofernes.