Art and Architecture, History, Reviews

Review: Bal, The Artemisia Files

jacket imageThe Art Book recently reviewed Mieke Bal’s The Artemisia Files: Artemisia Gentileschi for Feminists and Other Thinking People: "…despite their relative autonomy, each writer pays due deference to the others, with each essay cross-referencing others when appropriate. This, when the book is viewed as a whole, creates a unified work that is both satisfying and stimulating.… the accompanying illustrations are invaluable, and, although not in colour, are excellent quality for such a small volume."
One of the first female artists to achieve recognition in her own time, Artemisia Gentileschi (1593-1653) became instantly popular in the 1970s when feminist art historians "discovered" her and argued vehemently for a place for her in the canon of Italian baroque painters. Featured alongside her father, Orazio Gentileschi, in a recent exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Artemisia has continued to stir interest though her position in the canon remains precarious, in part because her sensationalized life history has overshadowed her art. In The Artemisia Files, Mieke Bal and her coauthors look squarely at this early icon of feminist art history and the question of her status as an artist.