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The Passion of Artemisia

3.85  ·  Rating Details  ·  12,861 Ratings  ·  650 Reviews
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 s ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published November 4th 2002 by Review (first published November 8th 2001)
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Lisette's List by Susan VreelandGirl With a Pearl Earring by Tracy ChevalierThe Birth of Venus by Sarah DunantLuncheon of the Boating Party by Susan VreelandThe Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
Fiction Books Involving Art
15th out of 84 books — 69 voters
A Room with a View by E.M. ForsterThe Birth of Venus by Sarah DunantThe Name of the Rose by Umberto EcoUnder the Tuscan Sun by Frances MayesThe Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim
Reading Italy
258th out of 379 books — 121 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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B the BookAddict
Jan 18, 2015 B the BookAddict rated it really liked it
Recommended to B the BookAddict by: Chrissie

Susan Vreeland fairly faithfully follows and recounts the real events in the life of 17th century Italian Baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi Lomi. Passionate about her art, she fought for acceptance in the artistic community and was the first woman to become a member of the Accademia di Arte del Disegno in Florence.

Raped at seventeen, Artemisia was indignant when her father, Tuscan painter Orazio Gentilesch, was paid off by her rapist to drop the charges. She had suffered during this male or
I love love love this book. It had been sitting on my shelves for years before I read it, and though I could be sorry I waited so long, somehow I'm glad for the hidden treasure it became. I found the book very interesting and well written. I already knew about Artemisia from a movie I saw, but as usual, the book left a far bigger impression.

The only thing that could improve this book, or at least the cheap Dutch edition I read, is a list of Italian words used and (color) prints of the paintings
Jan 22, 2016 Jeanette rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a fabulous read. From the first I was enthralled and through out remained encompassed by Artemisia. Specifically the complete fight within herself between the want/need for a personal life and her over-whelming necessity to channel her art within painting. And the time period and associations for access to the finest and most innovative of her time on top of all that. It truly became a book I could not put down.

Having read others of Susan Vreeland, I know how she can grab the depth of a cha
Aug 20, 2013 Simona rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Se è vero che da ogni libro impariamo posso dire di aver imparato a conoscere meglio questa donna e questa pittrice che risponde al nome di Artemisia Gentileschi, che fino a poco fa ignoravo.
I miei occhi sono ancora pregni di amore, di fascino, di bellezza, di arte, di sublime di fronte a una donna, una pittrice come Artemisia che non si è mai arresa, anche quando le circostanze giocavano a suo sfavore.
Una pittrice, una donna che, in un mondo ostile alle donne (siamo nel 1612), ha continuato,
Aug 18, 2014 Chrissie rated it really liked it
Finished: I feel like I was a bit harsh in all my previous criticism. However what I said IS what I felt at those particular points in the book. I am giving this 4 stars - the ending was superbly done. What can I say other than that I forgive all the previous faults that irritated me. Still, one can be almost proud to NOT be religious! The title is perfect. The Passion of Artemesia is the passion that moves an artist. Now at the end, I simply have deep respect for this woman, artist, mother and ...more
Feb 12, 2015 Orsolya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Personally, Artemisia is my favorite female artist. Enduring personal strife and showing the power of a woman, she is definitely a role model. Vreeland's novel provides a power insight into the life of the painter and yet smoothly and dramatically moves the story in an easy-to-read way. Powerful and yet entertaining. A must read!
May 26, 2011 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Chrissie
This book is based on the true story of Artemisia Gentileschi, a woman ahead of her time since her passion for painting overcame all the turbulences of her private life. Her friendship with Galileo Galilei was remarkable in both ways. She was the first woman to be accepted by the Academia .
Hilary G
Dec 11, 2012 Hilary G rated it it was ok
Ex Bookworm group review:

It took me rather a long time to read this book. Despite the fact the life of a female painter in what was pretty much a man's world was a great subject, the book failed to engage me somehow. I felt unmoved by Artemisia's suffering in the same way she suspected her daughter Palmira was, and for the same reason, I suspect. It was too far removed from the world I know to have any real meaning for me.

My progress through the book was a series of highs and lows. I liked the d
Jan 26, 2013 Lucrezia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Questa storia inizia qualche tempo fa, ero ancora al liceo, e la professoressa di letteratura italiana (adoro quella donna) stava parlando della sindrome di Standhal...
E così per spiegarcela utilizzo i suoi sentimenti di fronte ai quadri di Caravaggio, ma, sopratutto di Artemisia Gentileschi, di cui poi raccontò la triste vicenda.
Qualche tempo dopo in giro per La Feltrinelli a fare regali di natale, lo vedo e me lo regalo.
Che dire, proprio un bel regalo!

Susan Vreeland non la conoscevo ma in quan
Apr 02, 2011 Rebecca rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I first read one of Vreeland's books when I was in middle school (Girl in Hyacinth Blue), and I remember enjoying it very much. I bought this book shortly thereafter, and then approximately 15 years went by, and I finally got around to reading it. I would have loved this book in middle or high school, but reading it now, at approximately 27, the writing and characterization were a bit too simplistic.

One thing Vreeland does do well in this book is get inside the mind of the main character, a fema
Serena.. Sery-ously?
"E' una giornata meravigliosa, vero?" disse. Non era una domanda, ma un'affermazione.
"Come fai a dirlo? Non sei neanche scesa".
"Ti entra in casa, se le permetti di farlo".

Il libro mi ha sempre incuriosito e della Vreeland ho sentito parlare assai bene.. Devo dire che la prima sorpresa è stata quella di trovarmi di fronte ad un romanzo estremamente godibile e scorrevole, chissà perché mi aspettavo un mattone..
Detto questo, ripensando alla lettura, pur essendomi piaciuta molto, sento che il libro
I enjoyed this book more than I expected to--I picked it up at a used book sale simply because Vreeland's Girl in Hyacinth Blue is one of my favorite books.

But what Girl has is clearly inimitable. The painting s the main character, the hops through time. It's an unusual little book, and it is wonderful.

Artemesia is more traditional historical fiction. It is certainly readable and interesting, and I had never heard of Artemesia Gentileschi before picking up this book. But historical fiction that
A fictionalized look at the life of Artemisia Gentileschi, an Italian Baroque painter in the 17th century. I'd never heard of her before this, and I found looking up her paintings enhanced my enjoyment of the book. The story begins during the latter part of the trial of her rapist, and continues through her times in Florence, Genoa, Rome, Naples, and London. It's interesting how the rape trial was all but skipped, seeming to imply that we all know that story already, even though it shaped the co ...more
Nov 14, 2008 Darci rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: history buffs, art buffs
This book was such an interesting read, especially considering the events are pretty historically accurate, as far as I can tell (which isn't too far, but still...).
Aspects that make me lean toward 5 stars:
- the story line! Such a fascinating story! This makes you turn each page with relish!
- the characters... so many flawed but interesting people!
- the history, although it made me so GLAD I'm not living in the 1600s Italy.
Aspects that back off this review to 4 stars:
- the somewhat choppiness of
I have a cute little niece with this same name so when I had to pick a book about a painter it was easy to pull this one up. This was historical fiction and my second novel by this author. It was post-renaissance in Italy and a young woman was trying to make it as a painter.

I liked this for the most part. I appreciate the characters that this author creates. They seem to always possess a thread of reasoning. But with that being said, I think that is why I dislike her reprehensible characters be
Apr 30, 2015 Chris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hf
I felt like I was back in Italy viewing all the amazing art & architecture primarily in Rome & Florence. Lush descriptions that I was able to sink into while Vreeland unfolded the story of real life 17th C Italian Baroque artist Artemisia Gentileschi, the first female artist to be accepted into the Academy of Art in Florence. Her passion was her painting and in particular, heroines. Loved the vivid and detailed descriptions of her painting technique. It is also a novel of her overcoming ...more
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Clif Hostetler
Apr 11, 2014 Clif Hostetler rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel
This book is one of my wife's favorite novels. I like it too, but not with the same emotion as my wife. I listened to the audio of the book before my days, so I didn't write my own review. The following review is from the November PageADay Book Lover's Calendar for 2004.

THE PASSION OF ARTEMISIA, by Susan Vreeland (Viking Press, 2002), These days more and more people recognize the name Artemisia Gentileschi (1593-1653), one of the most talented painters of the Italian Baroque peri
I learned quite a bit about Artemisia while in college, having studied her somewhat first in Art History, and then later painting her Susanna figure from one of her Susanna and the Elders for a project in Art class. She is definitely a historical figure worth pondering in terms of her daily life.

I listened to this novel on audiobook, and I believe that I was potentially influenced by my dislike of the reader's voice and intonation of the different characters. I found it extremely grating and dis
Vivian Valvano
Jul 17, 2011 Vivian Valvano rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved it. I am so happy that one of the LIT women recommended it for our group. Artemisia was a late Renaissance painter from Rome and the first woman elected to the Academia del Arte of Florence. This novel stays very close to many facets of the historical woman's life and career. Vreeland gives her a keen intelligence, an enchanting personality, a depth of emotion to match her prodigious talent, and an effective narrative voice. Vreeland also stays true to much timely historical data. Artemi ...more
Krystl Louwagie
It's a high 3 stars because it was written well, and I have to love Artemisia, always have. However, the book focuses a lot on things I'm not interested in, such as marriage and kids and cheating husbands and and forgiveness. I guess maybe I'm still too young and an angry person, but...I think forgiveness is over-rated.
It was a nice look into what might've been Artemisia's life, but I don't have any idea why this is supposed to be a YA novel, other than maybe it's not long and isn't super in dep
Claudia-Il giro del mondo attraverso i libri
Alzo la testa tra la foresta di quadri ospiti della Galleria Palatina a Palazzo Pitti. Dopo due giorni di immersione totale nell’arte, dopo aver visitato Palazzo Vecchio, gli Uffizi, il Museo della Scienza, ecco che mi trovo in una delle più straordinarie gallerie d’arte del mondo. Alzo la testa e cammino in quelle enormi stanze fresche, dai pavimenti di marmo e con le ampie finestre che si affacciano sul magnifico giardino dei Boboli. Le opere qui conservate sono tantissime, quasi impossibile r ...more
Apr 15, 2009 Natalie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a great book about a famous female artist, Artemisia Gentilechi, who lived from 1593 to 1653, mainly in Rome, Florence, and Naples. After I read the book I was so intrigued by her that I did some research on the internet and found that even though this book is a novel, that most everything in the book really happened, i.e., the paintings that the book describes, the rape trial, and her friendship with Galileo. I loved looking at the actual paintings online after having read the book.

Anna [Floanne]
Come sempre, quando la letteratura sposa la storia dell'arte, io mi perdo e mi incanto. Questo libro non fa eccezione. Da questa biografia romanzata della vita di Artemisia Gentileschi affiora la figura di una donna forte ed estremamente determinata, che seppe vincere il dolore e l'onta di uno stupro e sconfiggere i pregiudizi maschilisti del suo tempo, affermandosi sia come pittrice (fu la prima donna ammessa all'Accademia di belle Arti di Firenze), sia come madre e imprenditrice di se stessa. ...more
Apr 22, 2015 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Historical fiction about a woman painter in the early 1600s, when Florence was in its heyday and wealthy patrons bought your time and pictures for months and years at a time. I found it very engaging, and read it in a single day. It highlights what painters had to cope with, how they thought, where they drew inspiration, and why it was unique to have a woman painter at that time.
Sep 29, 2007 indiefishsteak rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who need to forgive
When I started reading this book I had high hopes, since it's a book about a female painter in Rome. I was disappointed after the active beginning that most of it came across as either a textbook on art or on Italian history, neither of which I was expecting. However, as the characters developed more and the timeflow became less irregular (or rather I became more accustomed to the irregularity), the real message of forgiveness and how our lives impact others came across. Overall it was worth the ...more
Book Concierge
This is a great story, although some of our book-club members felt the writing wasn't quite up to par.

This is a fictionalized biography of Artemisia Genteleschi, the first woman to be admitted to the Academia del Arte in Florence - a 17th-century artist who specialized in portraits of strong women from the Bible or mythology. It offers a fascinating glimpse of Italy at the time. It is in turns passionate, tender, disturbing, and frustrating; on a par with Girl With a Pearl Earring.

Artemisa Perucho-green
Fabulous in every way! What a brave, strong, talented, inspiring woman who helped pave the road for women in the world of art...and what a storyteller!
Dec 15, 2011 Julie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: general-fiction
I liked this one much better than "Girl in Hyacynth Blue". I even think I liked it better than 'Luncheon of the Boating Party' because the story of Artemesia Gentileschi is so interesting and she was such a strong person. I found a website that had all her paintings in chronological order so it definitely added to the story to be able to go and look at the art mentioned in the novel. It also adds greatly to the appreciation of her art to know the story of her rape and subsequent struggles as a w ...more
Oct 17, 2015 Juls rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was about this young girl and she was a artist. She was taking art classes from Agostino Tassi. She was then raped by him and they had to go to court. After that she doesn't really like her dad anymore because in the court room they were torturing her and he just let them so she was happy with him. Later on Artemisia gets married too a man named pietro. She didn't really like him but her parents choose him for her to marry. Artemisia and pietro are pretty happy together. Artemisia real ...more
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Susan Vreeland is an internationally renowned best-selling author and four-time winner of the Theodor Geisel Award for Fiction, the San Diego Book Award’s highest honor. She is known for writing historical fiction on art-related themes, including Girl in Hyacinth Blue, The Passion of Artemisia, Luncheon of the Boating Party, and Clara and Mr. Tiffany. Her books have been translated into 26 languag ...more
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“Amar es ponerse al cuello el nudo corredizo de la ilusión; adorar a alguien mientras pareces asfixiarte. Pero incluso el amor no correspondido, el amor fugaz, es mejor que nada.” 3 likes
“I remember being disappointed when Papa had shown me Caravaggio's Judith. She was completely passive while she was sawing through a man's neck. Caravaggio gave all the feeling to the man. Apparently, he couldn't imagine a woman to have a single thought. I wanted to paint her thoughts, if such a thing were possible -- determination and concentration and belief in the absolute necessity of the act. The fate of her people resting on her shoulders...” 2 likes
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