painting Judith Slaying Holofernes by Artemisia Gentileschi.
A Contextual Criticism examines artworks as personal creations that reflect aspects of the artist’s life and times. While some artworks show little of this information, there are many creative works that can be examined for this type of content.
The work of art that is to be examined for this assignment is titled “Judith Slaying Holofernes” by the painter Artemesia Gentileschi.
Where and when was this artist born? When did the artist die?
What kind of support did the artist have from the art guilds?
How was this artist trained – in the academy for artists or elsewhere?
Who were the artist’s artistic influences?
What period of art was the artist painting in and what are the characteristics of the period?
What famous astronomer was a friend and supporter of Artemesia Gentileschi?
What circumstances in the artist’s life may be reflected in the painting by the act that is being done, by the style, color, emotional content, anatomy, decorations.
Describe the expressions on the faces of the three people in the painting. What do their postures and expressions mean in the context of the artist’s personal life?
What does the technique of CHIAROSCURO contribute to the impact of the painting? To learn about Chiaroscuro, click here.
What does the technique of SFUMATO contribute to the impact of the painting? To learn about Sfumato, click here.
Artemesia Gentileschi painted several versions of this subject over a number of years. Look at another version here. Why did this artist retain a lifelong interest in painting this subject?
Judith is the fourth book of the Old Testament Apocrypha in those versions of the Bible following the Greek Septuagint (generally Roman Catholic and Orthodox versions). Do you think Artemesia Gentileschi identified with the Biblical Judith?
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