Venetian Red Notebook: Artemisia’s Hand
Artemisia Gentileschi (1593-1652), the first woman artist to become a member of the Accademia di Arte del Disegno, led a very tempestuous life. Leaving aside all the controversy and melodrama, however fascinating and instructive, I’d simply like to reflect briefly on this drawing of her right hand by her contemporary Pierre Dumonstier (1585-1656). It is a lovely, expressive drawing that suggests both skill and strength, which seems apt, because in Gentileschi’s historical, religious and allegorical paintings, the eye is often drawn to her depiction of women’s hands. Whether clutching a paintbrush, drapery or a sword, her female subjects have powerful, expressive, strong hands. No where more so than in her arresting self-portrait as the allegory of painting, La Pittura.