Jean's Take

A blog about words, women, & whimsy

Michelangelo and Caravaggio and Artemisia

According to the New York Times last week–front page–Michelangelo is out and Caravaggio is in.   That’s after five years of academic tracking.  This doesn’t mean that one may dash over and spend some quiet hours pondering Michelangelo’s ceiling–it will still be mobbed, but it does mean that the churches in Rome which Caravaggio’s  mighty works adorn will also be mobbed; on the other hand, it might also mean that Artemisia Gentileschi will catch on.  After all, she painted women the way Caravaggio painted men.   She boasted that she would do exactly that in my work Daughters of Eve, a Herstory Book. However, her women were quite forgettable until she was raped and put through a public ordeal.   Can it be that it took this great trauma to bring out her great talent, to send her on the road to becoming what she could be?  Can it be that she would not have become one of the greatest artists of the Baroque, one of the greatests women artists of all time if she had not been raped by the insignificant artist, Augustino Tassi?  Does a woman’s search for self begin with a jolt?  Does a Sleeping Beauty only fully awaken  when she cannot go back to sleep?

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1 Comment

  1. Jana

    Only through heartbreak can one’s heart open fully. When there is nothing left to lose or when other options are exhausted, one is forced to go within for answers. I believe awakening happens through that process and although we may first deny the “little death” we have experienced, there is no returning to the “life before”. I think a jolt is necessary to bring us to ourselves.

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