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Gentileschi

GENTILESCHI, ARTEMISIA and ORAZIO DE', Italian painters.

Orazio (c.1565-1646) is generally named Orazio Lomi de' Gentileschi; it appears that De' Gentileschi was his correct surname, Lomi being the surname which his mother had borne during her first marriage. He was born at Pisa, and studied under his half-brother Aurelio Lomi, whom in course of time he surpassed. He afterwards went to Rome, and was associated with the landscape-painter Agostino Tasi, executing the figures for the landscape backgrounds of this artist in the Palazzo Rospigliosi, and it is said in the great hall of the Quirinal Palace, although by some authorities the figures in the last-named building are ascribed to Lanfranco. His best works are "Saints Cecilia and Valerian," in the Palazzo Borghese, Rome; "David after the death of Goliath," in the Palazzo Doria, Genoa; and some works in the royal palace, Turin, noticeable for vivid and uncommon colouring. At an advanced age Gentileschi went to England at the invitation of Charles I., and he was employed in the palace at Greenwich. Vandyck included him in his portraits of a hundred illustrious men. His works generally are strong in shadow and positive in colour. He died in England in 1646.

Artemisia (1590-1642), Orazio's daughter, studied first under Guido, acquired much renown for portrait-painting, and considerably excelled her father's fame. She was a beautiful and elegant woman; her likeness, limned by her own hand, is to be seen in Hampton Court. Her most celebrated composition is "Judith and Holofernes," in the Uffizi Gallery; certainly a work of singular energy, and giving ample proof of executive faculty, but repulsive and unwomanly in its physical horror. She accompanied her father to England, but did not remain there long; the best picture which she produced for Charles I. was "David with the head of Goliath." Artemisia refused an offer of marriage from Agostino Tasi, and bestowed her hand on Pier Antonio Schiattesi, continuing, however, to use her own surname. She settled in Naples, whither she returned after her English sojourn; she lived there in no little splendour, and there she died in 1642. She had a daughter and perhaps other children.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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