The Passion of Artemisia

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9780142001820: The Passion of Artemisia

From extraordinary highs - patronage by the Medicis, friendship with Galileo and, most importantly of all, beautiful and outstandingly original paintings - to rape by her father's colleague, torture by the Inquisition, life-long struggles for acceptance by the artistic Establishment, and betrayal by the men she loved, Artemisia was a bold and brilliant woman who lived as she wanted, and paid a high price. Now Susan Vreeland, author of the acclaimed GIRL IN HYACINTH BLUE, brings her story to passionate and vivid life.

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Review:

What do Italian Baroque artist Artemisia Gentileschi and 20th century novelist and philosopher Iris Murdoch have in common? In addition to the obvious--that they're both women--their life stories have eclipsed their art; sadly, because their work is of real significance and interest. Gentileschi has been the subject of an earlier novel by Anna Banti and a 1998 film. In actuality, she was raped at 19 by one of her father's fellow painters, Agostino Tassi, and the documentation of the seven-month trial has survived, to be given very different interpretations in all these accounts. Susan Vreeland's Artemisia is a feisty feminist, brimful with brio and passionate about her painting, who offers her narrative in the intimacy of the first person. After Tassi's trial, Artemisia's father arranges her marriage to Pietro Stiattesi, a Florentine painter--and dedicated philanderer. Artemisia, so she hopes, is to begin life anew in Florence. Indeed, she gives birth to a beloved daughter, Palmira, and distinguished painting commissions come to her. She is accepted as the first woman into the Academy of Art and Design, is envied for of Cosimo de' Medici's patronage, befriends Galileo, and soon outstrips her husband's reputation.

Her marriage asunder, she begins her peripatetic travels to Genoa, Venice, Florence and eventually to London, always in search of work, and always fleeing the taint of her rape. Vreeland paints her character and the different worlds she inhabits with loving and compelling detail--the sights and sounds of Florence, the snooty male hegemony of the Academy, the Medici feuds and intrigues. But the writing, particularly in Artemisia's own reflections and dialogue, is often jarringly clunky: "I really was living the life of an artist in the greatest art city in the world"; "I wanted to hug them all"--and this does detract from the novel's tone and persuasivenss. The book's cover is a travesty: a portrait of St Cecilia--the model is thought to be Artemisia and the painting is by her father. But why not one of Artemisia's own extraordinary paintings: indeed, her absorbed, intense self-portrait speaks volumes? What a sad irony that its very boldness has been sacrificed to the more saccharine beauty of her father's work. --Ruth Petrie

Review:

'Fascinating...Vreeland edits the facts with such skill that the result is an ingenious fragment of imagined autobiography...that has a resonance with Artemisia's time and yet is wholly contemporary' The Times

Praise for GIRL IN HYACINTH BLUE:

'Not just another book with a Vermeer on the dust jacket....This beautifully imagined and written book...is a work of art itself'



'A highly entertaining and thought-provoking read...a treat' Sunday Herald

Wonderful...extraordinarily skilled...deft, perceptive...deeply moving

A work of art

'An enjoyably languorous read...Viva Artemisia!' The Big Issue in the North

'Boldly imagined' Observer

'Vreeland is expert at seeing the world through the eyes of an artist' Guardian

'Highly enjoyable' Sunday Telegraph

'Beautifully imagined...well crafted...[an] entertaining and moving novel' Historical Novels Review

'An extraordinary tale of a woman's struggle for professional acceptance...vivid and inspiring...a must for any potential artist or biographical enthusiast' Buzz magazine

Praise for GIRL IN HYACINTH BLUE:

'This is not just another book with a Vermeer on the dust jacket...It is an illuminating meditation on the nature of art....This beautifully imagined and written book...is a work of art itself' Sunday Telegraph

'...celebrate the skill with which Susan Vreeland evokes the diverse owners of the picture across the ages' Independent

'A moving paean to the transforming power of art' Good Book Guide

'Susan Vreeland's...imaginative, deeply moving triumph' Ms London

'A remarkable debut' Buzz

'Vreeland's moving tales are interwoven to make a memorable novel' Oxford Times

'Charming...as intricate and delicate as the brushwork on a Johannes still life' Literary Review

'Intelligent, searching and unusual... filled with luminous moments' New York Times Book Review

'Subtle and atmospheric...an impressive debut' Publishers Weekly

'Wonderful...extraordinarily skilled...deft, perceptive...deeply moving' Kirkus Reviews

'A work of art' New York Post

'Wonderful' Salon.com

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Book Description Penguin Putnam Inc, United States, 2003. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 183 x 117 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Recently rediscovered by art historians, and one of the few female post-Renaissance painters to achieve fame during her own era, Artemisia Gentileschi led a remarkably modern life. Susan Vreeland tells Artemisia s captivating story, beginning with her public humiliation in a rape trial at the age of eighteen, and continuing through her father s betrayal, her marriage of convenience, motherhood, and growing fame as an artist. Set against the glorious backdrops of Rome, Florence, Genoa, and Naples, inhabited by historical characters such as Galileo and Cosimo de Medici II, and filled with rich details about life as a seventeenth-century painter, Vreeland creates an inspiring story about one woman s lifelong struggle to reconcile career and family, passion and genius. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780142001820

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Book Description Penguin Putnam Inc, United States, 2003. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 183 x 117 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Recently rediscovered by art historians, and one of the few female post-Renaissance painters to achieve fame during her own era, Artemisia Gentileschi led a remarkably modern life. Susan Vreeland tells Artemisia s captivating story, beginning with her public humiliation in a rape trial at the age of eighteen, and continuing through her father s betrayal, her marriage of convenience, motherhood, and growing fame as an artist. Set against the glorious backdrops of Rome, Florence, Genoa, and Naples, inhabited by historical characters such as Galileo and Cosimo de Medici II, and filled with rich details about life as a seventeenth-century painter, Vreeland creates an inspiring story about one woman s lifelong struggle to reconcile career and family, passion and genius. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780142001820

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