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3.93  ·  Rating details ·  5,041 ratings  ·  119 reviews
An international best-seller, Artemisia is based on the passionate story of one of the Western world's first significant female artists. Born to the artist Orazio Gentileschi at the beginning of the 1600s, when artists were the celebrities of the day, Artemisia was apprenticed to her father at an early age, showing such remarkable talent that he viewed her as the most prec ...more
Paperback, 427 pages
Published September 21st 2001 by Grove Press (first published 1998)
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Ann Brady Absolutely based on fact. Worth having a look at her paintings which show her rage at the sexual injustice of her experience. Makes you wonder how…moreAbsolutely based on fact. Worth having a look at her paintings which show her rage at the sexual injustice of her experience. Makes you wonder how many great artists have been lost to history because they were women. Grrr!(less)
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3.93  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,041 ratings  ·  119 reviews

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If you are unaware of Artemisia Gentileschi, then I can only say: shame on you! Arguably the most talented female painter of Baroque Italy, the victim of a rape and first public rape trial, and a true feminist; Artemisia is nothing short of amazing. Sadly, her work and life is less known to those outside of the art world. Alexandra LaPierre brings Artemisia Gentileschi to life in, “Artemisia”.

“Artemisia” is a very unique novel, being difficult to describe in terms of format. Being neither a stra
'Aussie Rick'
Nov 28, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: art-music-poetry
This book by Alexandra Lapierre on the life of the female artist, Artemisia Gentileschi, is a fascinating study of the world of art and Europe during the seventeenth Century. Having read a few books on Caravaggio I had come across the name of Artemisia but knew very little of her other than that she had been raped by another artist and later went on to become quite famous herself. This book told the story of not only Artemisia and her art but also her father, Orazio Gentileschi, and showed how a ...more
Bonnie Wilson
May 20, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
I trudged through about 100 pages of this with absolutely no enjoyment whatsoever. I did spend some minutes wondering exactly how to describe the writing - maybe a doctoral dissertation chopped up and interspersed with some very occasional dialogue and an omniscient author explaining the characters feelings? Not that I would know how a doctoral dissertation reads, but this sure does not read like a novel.

I will credit the author for definitely not making this a "perky modern girl in period cost
Jul 23, 2011 rated it it was ok
Artemisia Gentileschi is one of the most intriguing women of the European Renaissance, possibly one of the most intriguing women ever, but this biographical novel is problematic. One the one hand, I want to praise it for laying out her life and for its presentation of the difficult existence of a serious woman artist in 17th century Italy. It is a novel that comes with 130 pages of notes and references and 16 pages of full colour plates featuring much of her most well known work along with sever ...more
Mar 11, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fa, biografica-mente
Imponente e dettagliato affresco della vita e dell’arte di Artemisia Gentileschi che si pone a metà strada tra il saggio e il romanzo. Alcuni temi vengono ripresi e ripetuti in modo quasi ossessivo nell’arco di tutta la narrazione e alla lunga questo soffermarsi nell’analisi degli stessi argomenti appesantisce un po’ la lettura, ma dinnanzi a una tale opera d’immedesimazione, ricerca e ricostruzione storica qualche eco di ridondanza è facile da perdonare. Di grande pregio l’appendice finale di o ...more
Rebecca Huston
Out of the three novels that I've read about Artemisia, this one is my favourite, and the one that is the best written. This is the one to go to for a good read, and some understanding of the sensationalistic rape trial that marred Artemisia's youth, but may have been what turned her into such an expressive artist.

For the longer review, please go here:
Sep 20, 2012 rated it liked it
Art historians have always had an almost romantic attachment to Artemisia Gentileschi, one of the few female post-Renaissance painters to achieve fame during her own lifetime. Trained as an artist by her famous father, Orazio Gentileschi, she was a woman with 21st century ideas and ideals forced to deal with being born in the 17th century. Raped at age seventeen by an associate of her father she filed a complaint and took the matter to trial (a scandalous and unheard of event in 1612 when women ...more
Jul 16, 2012 rated it it was ok
It says on the cover that this is a novel, but I don't know if that's what this book is. The author tried to create this odd hybrid of historical fiction while simultaneously inserting chunks of what reads a lot like non-fiction. Which was incredibly frustrating for this reader: I say, pick a side. Additionally, the writing was not good. It's very possible that the cause of this was a poor translation because the language felt clunky and sort of haphazard. I had to force myself to get through th ...more
May 27, 2011 rated it liked it
History of Artemisia Gentileschi, a famous painter of 17th century Rome, her father, and the rape that shaped her life. Fascinating view of Italian society of this era and the world of painters.
Alessia Simoni
Leggendo La passione di Artemisia, romanzo sulla vita della pittrice Artemisia Gentileschi, vagavo ogni tanto sul web alla ricerca di immagini delle sue opere, soprattutto di quelle descritte nel libro che stavo leggendo. Capitai così nella pagina dedicata alla Gentileschi in Wikipedia, e lessi una breve citazione da questo romanzo della Lapierre: e decisi di leggerlo, anche viste le recensioni più che positive.
Un'ottima scelta, direi.
Artemisia di Alexandra Lapierre non è un romanzo, ma non è ne
Dec 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: italy
I enjoyed this book very much, but found at times that it awkwardly shifted between the more scholarly tone of a biography with the narrative of pure fiction. The story of her life is just fascinating, and I suppose that is what carries it along, but sometimes that weird fusion just was strange to read. I definitely appreciated the inclusion of prints of the artist's works in the book, since that added to the experience of the story of Artemisia's life and work.

Overall, I would recommend this f
Jan 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I read this book as an audio book and it captured my interest from the first few moments. The reader was fabulous, using expressiveness and well pronounced Italian to bring the story to life.

I have enjoyed several books that fictionalize the life of artists, especially women. This is one of my favorites, though it has been several years and my memory of the details is not as sharp as I would like.

Artemisia is a strong and compelling character and the writing is lovely. I recommend this book if y
Jan 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Elegant yet messy.

The prose is beautifully constructed; this is a sensuous and evocative read. Sadly it is not always a novel - clearly the author's imagination reverts to primary source analysis and the text drops from narrative to recount. It's the reading equivalent of a poorly constructed documentary where historical facts are briefly illuminated by imaginative re-enactments.

It's a shame: as a historical treatise it has no thesis and as a novel the discontinuity in style is jarring.
May 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Chrissie, Virginie
To be send to Chrissie in Belgium. And then to Virginie in France.

Some of her paintings can be find at:

And also at:

Great book, even if the rape episode took so long.
Jun 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
At first I thought this book was too trashy for me to enjoy properly, but then I realized how deeply the author had researched her subject. Lapierre definitely presents things in a dramatic light, but to her credit, her protagonist was clearly living in a sensational time.
Mar 25, 2014 rated it did not like it
It was unreadable mainly because the names in the book are so freakin' long! Reading a paragraph is exhausting.
Jan 01, 2016 rated it liked it
Nice integration of court documents, insight into cultural mores
Mar 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a challenging read for the first 100 pages. The format was unclear: Is it a novel, an exploration, or biography? But once adjusted to the questions posed to the reader (which sound like the author thinking aloud to herself), all the unfamiliar names of 17th century painters and people, Pope Paul V and all his cardinals and behind-the-scenes human connections, and the lengthy writing to get to the story of Artemisia post rape, then the writing and story begin to take shape.

What one lear
Jan 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
"Per dipingersi in quella posizione di tre quarti, aveva dovuto disporre davanti a lei due grandi specchi a squadra. Al contrario di molti artisti che offrivano al mondo un'immagine raffinata di se stessi, a differenza dei pittori che si raffiguravano seduti di fronte al cavalletto, ben vestiti, lo sguardo posato, rivolti verso lo spettatore, Artemisia era sorpresa in piena azione. In piedi, occupava tutta l'altezza del dipinto; non guardava verso il pubblico ma si chinava sul modello, sulla pro ...more
Karen Smithson
Feb 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Artemisia by Alexandra Lapierre is a novel about the life of the Baroque artist Artemisia Gentileschi. The novel is written in the 3rd person omniscient point of view which can be disorienting to some readers since the narrator is telling the story. Being in the thoughts of two different characters in the same paragraph can be a bit jarring for those who are unfamiliar with this writing style. The author provides pages of notes and the book is well researched. If you are interested in learning a ...more
Michelle Harrell
I am fascinated by Artemisia Gentileschi but this was a struggle to get through at times. I actually enjoyed having to look up places and historical figures most of the time. However, it’s written more as a historical fiction than a biography which made it a challenge to follow at times. I’m not eager to read another book by the author (though it could have been the fact this had been translated) but I would still recommend to anyone who loves art and art history.
May 17, 2017 rated it liked it
It was hard to tell if this was a novel or a biography. Still good
Sep 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Baroque Italy at its best and worst. Tragic account of a brilliant artist struggling with life and consequences.
Sep 30, 2017 rated it liked it
While Artemesia is incredible subject to learn about and her story is incredible, I felt the storytelling was drab and detailed at times to the point that I was a bit confused.
Zoe Cassar
Jul 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
I loved this book but found it really harrowing in parts which shows the skill of the author I suppose (though I can't say I enjoyed those sections). It was overall an engrossing read.
Hilde Daman
A very good account of a woman painter in the seventeenth century.
Jan Priddy
Nov 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I tried reading George Eliot's Italian renaissance novel long ago. It was her most admired novel in its day, set in Florence beginning 1492 with the death of de Medici rule. The daughter Ramola is treated as rather a fool by her blind historian father (which reminds me of the relationship between Dorothea and Casaubon).

Here is where life steps in and delivers the delightful coincidence. I listened to an NPR review of a novel called "The Birth of Venus." I got home, looked it up on Amazon, read
Michelle Arostegui
Mar 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
An international best-seller, Artemisia is based on the passionate story of one of the Western world's first significant female artists. Born to the artist Orazio Gentileschi at the beginning of the 1600s, when artists were the celebrities of the day, Artemisia was apprenticed to her father at an early age, showing such remarkable talent that he viewed her as the most precious thing in his life. But at the age of seventeen Artemisia was raped by her father's best friend and partner. The Gentiles ...more
First and foremost it is important to mention that this is not a romanticised story of a famous person. Alexandra LAPIERRE is a biographer! Her extensive research and references are mentioned in the annexes -- which could interest historians. As for the laymen, this book is a succession of facts, with some interesting information about the life of an artist (certainly female!) in Baroque times and the place of ART in XVII-th century Europe. I give it only 3 stars because I was lacking more infor ...more
Era tanto che non mi capitava di leggere un romanzo storico come questo e ne sono davvero, davvero, davvero felice. Che poi non è un romanzo vero e proprio, ma anche un saggio, una biografia, un po' tutto e anche di più. È il genere di libro che amo leggere perché prima di tutto è palpabile l'amore che l'autrice prova per la protagonista e anche per il suo difficile padre. Li ha cercati, li ha evitati, ma sono tornati da lei e alla fine si è arresa ai Gentileschi. In secondo luogo, per tutti col ...more
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Alexandra Lapierre has won international acclaim for her writing. Her works have been widely translated and she has received numerous awards, including the Honorary Award of the Association of American University Women. She earned an MFA degree in 1981 from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles.

The daughter of the writer Dominique Lapierre, she was brought up surrounded by books. At
“Dünya halini sevmeyiniz, ne de dünyada var olanı, kızım. Tanrı aşkı, dünya sevgisiyle dolu olan kişide yoktur!” 0 likes
“İdam sehpasının birkaç metre ötesinden, Saint-Jean-Decolle tarikatından dört keşiş, siyah kukuletaları, kaba kumaştan giysileri içinde, idam mahkûmlarına işkence yapılmasından sorumlu bu dört din adamı, mahkûmlar kilisesinden, Beatrice'in babasının ikinci eşini -baba katlinde suç ortağı ve ensest olayının tanığı olan kişiyi çıkarıyorlardı.
İlk o ölecekti. Kadın ayakta duramıyordu; onu baltaya götürecek olan güvenlik görevlilerinin oluşturduğu çitin arasında bitkindi. İki keşiş onu koltuk altlarından tutuyordu. Ötekisi de ölüme layıkıyla gitmesini salık veren sözler söylüyordu kulağına. Sonuncusu ise, onun yüzü hizasında bir ayna tutar gibi, idam sehpasını görmesini engelleyen, boyalı bir tahta levha tutuyordu. Bu tahta üzerinde Vaftizci Yahya'nın (Saint-Jean-Baptise) gümüş tepsi içindeki kesik başının tasviri vardı. Acıdan tükenmiş haldeydi, elinde baltasıyla onu bekleyen celladı görünce, mahkûm kadın bayıldı. Sehpaya çıkardıkları, bilinci yerinde olmayan zavallı bir kadındı. Onu kesme kütüğüne yatırdılar. Görülecek ne var gerisinde? Gerisi kasaplık. Asıl dram sonrasındaydı. Kiliseden tek başına, hızla ilerleyen, Beatrice'in silueti çıktı. Bütün kent haykırdı. Acıma, hayranlık, öfke; bütün Roma, hapishanelerinden saraylarına dek aynı heyecanla sarsılmış gibiydi.
İdam sehpasının altındaki ressam grubu hariç; onlar, ses çıkarmadan oldukları yerde kaldılar. Ellerinde kâğıt kalemleri, en küçük bir ayrıntıyı kaçırmamak kaygısı içindeydiler. İnsanlar; üç dört hatta beş kadar idama alışık olsalar da, kutlamalar öncesi bir dönemde, böylesi güzel ve soylu bir kadının idam edilmesi sık rastlanan bir durum değildi.
Bu neredeyse bir çocuktu, yapılan işkencelere dokuz saat boyunca dayandığı söyleniyordu ve oradaki herkes onu masum buluyordu. Roma halkı, kalabalığın içinden dimdik, kendinden emin, Tanrıya dualar ederek Papaya hakaretler okuyarak ilerleyen bu genç kızın gösterdiği yüreklilikte, Reform karşıtlarının, Katolikler anısına Hıristiyan sanatçılara sipariş ettikleri, Sainte Catherine, Sainte Ursula ve Sainte Cecile gibi azizeleri görmekteydi.
Hemen sonrasında bir sessizlik oldu. Genç kız kafasını kesme kütüğüne koydu. Celladın kollarını havaya kaldırdığı görüldü. Baltanın gün ışığında yalkın verdiği görüldü. Yalnızca bunlar görüldü: güneş, balta ve Saint-Pierre Kilisesi'nin kubbesi. Kollar tekrar aşağı indi. Boğuk bir çarpma sesi duyulur gibi oldu. Halk haykırdı. Baba despotluğunun ve papa haksızlığının kurbanı bir genç kızın kafasını gördüklerinde, korku, acıma, öfke ve kin dolu bir çığlık yükseldi.
Gösteriyi yakından izlemeyi başarmış olan ressamlar arasında soğukkanlılığını koruyabilen iki kişi vardı. Bir baba ve kızı. Orazio Gentileschi ve küçük Artemisia.”
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