Art & Architecture

Artemisia Gentileschi and the Business of Art

A new account of the renowned Baroque painter, revealing how her astute professional decisions shaped her career, style, and legacy


Jun 11, 2024
9 x 10.5 in.
127 color + 10 b/w illus. 3 tables.
Art & Architecture
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Art has long been viewed as a calling—a quasi-religious vocation that drives artists to seek answers to humanity’s deepest questions. Yet the art world is a risky, competitive business that requires artists to make strategic decisions, especially if the artist is a woman. In Artemisia Gentileschi and the Business of Art, Christopher Marshall presents a new account of the life, work, and legacy of the Italian Baroque painter, revealing how she built a successful four-decade career in a male-dominated field—and how her business acumen has even influenced the resurrection of her reputation today, when she has been transformed from a footnote of art history to a globally famous artist and feminist icon.

Combining the most recent research with detailed analyses of newly attributed paintings, the book highlights the business considerations behind Gentileschi’s development of a trademark style as she marketed herself to the public across a range of Italian artistic centers. The disguised self-portraits in her early Florentine paintings are reevaluated as an effort to make a celebrity brand of her own image. And, challenging the common perception that Gentileschi’s only masterpieces are her early Caravaggesque paintings, the book emphasizes the importance of her neglected late Neapolitan works, which are reinterpreted as innovative responses to the conventional practices of Baroque workshops.

Artemisia Gentileschi and the Business of Art shows that Gentileschi’s remarkable success as a painter was due not only to her enormous talent but also to her ability to respond creatively to the continuously evolving trends and challenges of the Italian Baroque art world.