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Artemisia Gentilschi Feminism in Italian Society Throughout the Fifteenth and Seventeenth Centuries Painting in the Baroque period evoked emotion by appealing to the senses in very dramatic ways Artists often used religion or personal experiences and effectively translated these aspects into their works Artemisia Gentileschi was a female painter during this period who was habitually neglected by critics This was attributed to the fact that she was woman The visual arts was a field that was strictly exclusive to males and it was the basic assumption among male artists and theorists of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries that women might practice painting or sculpture but could not on account of their inferior biological nature produce works of creative genius Therefor it was difficult for women to have their work accepted at that time Gentileschi frequently depicted strong women from the past who are of heroic nature which can be read as unusual since women were seen as inferior to their male counterparts Modern feminists believe that Gentileschi must have held feminist views based on her depictions of women The problem with this point of view however was that feminism was not a fully developed or widely accepted ideology at the time that Gentileschi was painting However Joan Kelly contended that there was a four hundred year old tradition of women thinking about women and sexual politics in European society before the French Revolution With that as a premise feminism could be loosely defined as a pro-female reaction to sexual politics and Gentileschi could be deemed a feminist thinker In order to argue this point this essay will offer an analysis of the culture of Italian society including the writing within the Sciptures and of men and women of the time period It is possible that Gentileschis work was a response to the decades of negative beliefs about women that derived from the male writers in Italy based on the religious teachings of
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