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The Passion of Artemisia

3.86  ·  Rating Details ·  13,734 Ratings  ·  700 Reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published January 2003 by Penguin Books (first published November 8th 2001)
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Girl With a Pearl Earring by Tracy ChevalierThe Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar WildeThe Da Vinci Code by Dan BrownThe Birth of Venus by Sarah DunantGirl in Hyacinth Blue by Susan Vreeland
Art & Artists in Fiction
11th out of 532 books — 855 voters
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur GoldenGone with the Wind by Margaret MitchellThe Pillars of the Earth by Ken FollettThe Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa GregoryThe Red Tent by Anita Diamant
Best Historical Fiction
298th out of 5,786 books — 22,225 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  ·  review of another edition
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
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,
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!
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
Apr 16, 2016 Nika rated it liked it

"Where art and science touch is the realm of the imagination, the place where original ideas are born."
Clio, the Muse of History, Artemisia Gentileschi

An intimate portrait of Artemisia Gentileschi, relying on details from the Italian Baroque's artist life, including her controversial rape trial (and her struggles thereafter) and an intriguing correspondence with Galileo Galilei. Vreeland inquires into the profound links between art and experience, exploring how visual expression can become a for
”The two things I wanted most in life- painting and love- and one had killed any chance at the other. Why was life so perverse that it couldn’t or wouldn’t give me one shred of good without an equal amount of bad?”

Artemisia Gentileschi is seventeen years old and on trial for accusing her father’s friend of rape. Publicly humiliated, shamed and basically abandoned by her father (a famous artist), her life is basically ruined.
”’In time, Artemisia, it won’t matter.’
‘When a woman’s name is all sh
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 .
For you art lovers who also like historical fiction, this one's for you. Susan Vreeland is a very good writer of historical fiction, although I don't always like her subject matter, I did in this one. Along the line of Tracy Chevalier's Girl With a Pearl Earring.
Hilary G
Dec 11, 2012 Hilary G rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Elena T.
Feb 24, 2016 Elena T. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Artemisia Gentileschi, una figura tutt'ora in penombra, superficialmente riportata alla luce dalla corrente femminista. Infatti, più che il talento, ciò che di lei affascina è la forte personalità e la sensualità quasi tangibile nei suoi autoritratti e negli eventi che la avvolgono a partire dallo stupro subìto dal pittore Agostino Tassi". Questo riportano i maggiori volumi d'arte.

Susan Vreeland con il suo "La passione di Artemisia" ci regala un affresco lungo tutto un secolo (il XVII) attraver
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
May 31, 2015 Dree rated it liked it
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
Feb 23, 2014 melydia rated it liked it
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
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
Apr 13, 2015 Donna rated it liked it
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
Gail Baugniet
Mar 26, 2016 Gail Baugniet rated it it was amazing
After reading and enjoying Girl In Hyacinth Blue by Susan Vreeland, I was eager to read another of her novels. In The Passion of Artemisia the author expresses with tantalizing narrative the artist Artemisia’s passion for life and for her life’s calling as an artist. Each chapter is written with an intensity that allowed me to savor the fine details along with the broad strokes of the story as it unfolded.

The anguish displayed in the first four chapters created such emotional tension in me that
Feb 26, 2015 Deirdre rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Clif Hostetler
Apr 11, 2014 Clif Hostetler rated it really liked it
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
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
Aug 04, 2016 Chris rated it it was amazing
Shelves: hf, italy, artists
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
Apr 22, 2015 Karen rated it really liked it
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.
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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
More about Susan Vreeland...

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“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...” 3 likes
“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
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