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The Passion of Artemisia

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  17,178 ratings  ·  922 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 ...more
Paperback, 315 pages
Published January 2003 by Penguin Books (first published November 8th 2001)
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Average rating 3.88  · 
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 ·  17,178 ratings  ·  922 reviews


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B the BookAddict
Aug 19, 2014 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
...more
Candi
"If a person loves something above all else, if he values the work of his heart and hands, then he should naturally, without hesitation, pour into it his whole soul, undivided and pure. Great art demands nothing less."

Artemisia Gentileschi, 17th century Italian Baroque painter, was passionate about her lifes work. Author Susan Vreeland presents a compelling glimpse at one of the most fascinating and progressive artists of her time. Artemisia is raped by her fathers colleague, scrutinized and
...more
Connie G
Artemisia Gentileschi was an Italian 17th Century painter who was taught by her Roman painter father, Orazio Gentileschi. Many of her works are in the style of Caravaggio who used chiaroscuro (a dark background with light shining on the main figures in the scene.) Artemisia painted strong, assertive women, often from Biblical stories, such as various versions of "Judith Slaying Holofernes."

Author Susan Vreeland opens the book at the trial of artist Agostino Tassi who was accused of raping
...more
Suzanne
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
...more
Chrissie
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
Hilary G
Dec 11, 2012 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
...more
Jeanette
Jan 17, 2016 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
...more
Natasa
Mar 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: italy, art-history
I found this to be a nice easy read with characters that held my attention, and a story that was interesting enough to make me want to find out more about Artemisia and her life. I would have liked a more in-depth look at Artemisia and her husband, their relationship, and his relationship with his daughter. Although this was not a page-turner, it held my attention, and I cared about the people in the story. I enjoyed the descriptions and the interpretations of Artemisias paintings, Italy, and ...more
Orsolya
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!
Linda P.
Dec 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed every single page of this book. The author was able to catch my whole attention in a way I was not expecting. I could feel all Artemisia's emotions, I could smell the odours of the street of Florence looking at the Arno, I could hear the noise in Neapel.. I could admire each beautiful paintings of this brave female artist, who was in that century definitely a pioneer, without having seen them before!
Laura
May 26, 2011 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 .
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
May 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
One of our book club members was a personal friend of Susan Vreeland, and it was he who brought this author to the attention of our club. Many of us found we enjoyed Vreeland's approach to historical fiction, using extensive research, and focusing on stories of people from the world of art.

The Passion of Artemisia is the story of Artemisia Gentileschi, one of the few female painters of the post-Renaissance world to become well-known in her own time. The story begins with the scandalous public
...more
Katherine
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 couldnt or wouldnt give me one shred of good without an equal amount of bad?

Artemisia Gentileschi is seventeen years old and on trial for accusing her fathers friend of rape. Publicly humiliated, shamed and basically abandoned by her father (a famous artist), her life is basically ruined.
In time, Artemisia, it wont matter.
When a womans name is all she has, it
...more
Chris
Apr 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: hf, artists, italy
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
Duane
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.
Rebecca
Mar 27, 2011 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
...more
caravaggion
Aug 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: historical, art, history
this was everything i wanted it to be n im not gonna say much about it because its late n im super tired but this book reminded me a lot of my art teacher, who, out of all my highschool teachers is the one i still think about the most, that woman was a total badass, a super strong person who, even though shy by nature, lives her truest life and i will never forget about her
Natalie (CuriousReader)
While The Passion of Artemisia is hardly a perfect novel, it is a thoroughly engaging fictionalized account of the legendary Roman-born Artemisia Gentileschi - painter extraordinaire living and working during the 17th century. The book begins with a rape trial, where Artemisia pursues justice for the suffering caused by one of her father's trusted friends and her mentor. She who has already been hurt from the violent event itself is further shamed by the societal responses of her trial - calling ...more
Marialyce
Mar 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a wonderful, beautifully told tale of an artist named Artemesia who was portrayed as a woman painter in the seventeenth century. The book delves into the difficulties of being a woman during those times, especially a woman who was raped and one who was an artist. Artemisia had a most tenuous relationship with her father, also an artist, with her husband, a philanderer and an unfaithful man, and her daughter who oftentimes bore the brunt of the lack of her mother's love because her ...more
Mr Puddy
Dec 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
I absolutely love the book. The Passion of Artemisia ' is real page-turner but I could't ignore the fact of her childhood trauma. Artemisia as a teen who was ruined by rape and public humiliation. She was abandoned by her own father. Her childhood was abused and neglect. In most case of psychology today, most of them tend to become depressed, withdraw, develop suicidal or violent behavior. Many are still struggling even they become adults. After bad things happen to her, I can see her personal ...more
Ali Lafferty
Aug 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Artemisia Gentileschi was a total badass: she gets sexually assaulted by her dad's artist friend, is then pledged to be married to that artist, then has to testify in court against him and marry someone else for "convenience" because she is now "impure." Through all this, she perseveres in her own art, painting Judith after Judith beheading Holofernes and earning her spot as the first female artist in the Accademia. This was all truth, but only Susan Vreeland could write about Artemisia with ...more
Marie
A lovely read about an incredible woman.
Sarah Alexander
Aug 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
goin thru some shit so i sobbed multiple times during the last ~50 pages
Sherri Silvera
Jun 02, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf
This was a DNF for me. I could not force myself to finish even though I was half way through and it got such good reviews. I found it to be tedious.
Jessie  (Ageless Pages Reviews)
Histfic covering the life of Artemisia Gentileschi from the infamous rape trial of Agostino to her fathers death. Sadly a only surface-level rendition of her life. There is no real depth to this version of her story and Vreeland's Artemisia is far more passive than she ought to be for a woman who did all she did. ...more
Lisa James
Jul 19, 2020 rated it liked it
This was a really eye opening book. It hooks you from the beginning, I mean starting out with a rape trial is one hell of a way to grab a reader's attention. Artemisia, a painter's daughter, inherited her father's talent, but women were really not appreciated as artists in their own right back in the time period this is set in. She survives the rape trial, only to be unceremoniously married off to another painter who is willing to take her even though she is considered to be damaged goods. Her ...more
Darci
Nov 12, 2008 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
...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
...more
melydia
Feb 23, 2014 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 ...more
Dree
May 28, 2015 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
...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 Awards 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 ...more

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