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Rediscovered painting by Artemisia Gentileschi achieves $1.2 million at Sotheby's Paris
Artemisia Gentileschi, Mary Magdalene (detail). Oil on canvas, 81 x 105 cm ; 32 by 411/3 in. €865.500 – World Auction Record for the Artist. Photo: Sotheby's.
PARIS.- Today at Sotheby’s Paris, the extremely rare and powerful work, by the important Italian 17th century Baroque artist Artemisia Gentileschi, achieved €865.500 ($1.179.832) against a pre-sale estimate of €200.000-300.000 – World Auction Record for the Artist. This masterpiece was rediscovered by Sotheby’s Paris Old Master Department in an old collection in the South of France, after being hidden from view for 80 years.

This large canvas (81 x 105cm) was hitherto known only from an old black-and-white photograph in the photo library of an Italian dealer at the beginning of the 20th century, when it was very probably acquired by the family of the current owners. It shows a scene popular at the time, whose religious nature is discreetly evoked by the divine light in the top left-hand corner. Artemisia Gentileschi produced this profoundly Caravaggesque work by tightly framing the subject and depicting Mary Magdalene as approachably human; her sacred status is secondary. The composition is designed to make the viewer sit up and think: it surprises us and takes us aback.

Artemisia Gentileschi led a colourful and eventful life as both woman and artist – a heroine of her time, whose life and work rank her among history ’s exceptional figures. She was first and foremost a woman who grew up in the exclusively masculine artistic milieu of early 17 th century Rome. She was the daughter of the celebrated Orazio Gentileschi (Pisa 1563–London 1639), acknowledged as one of the leading Caravaggesque artists; as a studio apprentice with her father and other contemporary painters, she learnt how to mix pigments and blend colours, quickly mastering the art of producing powerful, striking compositions that caught the eye.

Through hard work, determination, perseverance, character and application, Artemisia Gentileschi overcame searing difficulties and the most painful trials – most notably the notorious rape case she brought and won against the artist Agostino Tassi, which has gone down in history as a great feminist victory – to attracting numerous commissions and become famous across Europe, working as far afield as Naples, Genoa, Venice and London to establish her own name through her own individual talent.



Today's News

June 27, 2014

'Paparazzi ! Photographers, Stars and Artists' opens at the Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt

Rediscovered painting by Artemisia Gentileschi achieves $1.2 million at Sotheby's Paris

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, transfers eight illicitly trafficked antiquities to Nigeria

The Barnes Foundation presents 'The World is an Apple: The Still Lifes of Paul Cézanne'

Germany seeks to keep effective ban on Adolf Hitler's manifesto 'Mein Kampf' reprints

Marianne Boesky Gallery and Marlborough open joint project: Another Look at Detroit

Rare 'Macdonald' viola created by Antonio Stradivari fails to sell at Sotheby's auction

Mapping It Out: An Alternative Atlas of Contemporary Cartographies edited by Hans Ulrich Obrist

Old meets new in 16 stunning hybrid images of London's bridges from Museum of London Docklands

'Ming: The Golden Empire' opens at National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh

The Fifth Season: Group exhibition opens at James Cohan Gallery in New York

Rare guitar that survived wrath of The Who's Pete Townshend is top lot in Bonhams Entertainment Sale

Masterpiece London's 5th edition opens with a $20 million sale by British jewellers Symbolic and Chase

Photographic Object, 1970: An ambitious historical exhibition opens at Hauser & Wirth

Texas collection of Comedias Sueltas and Spanish Theater available for research and in online database

Paintings and works on paper from the 1960's-1980's by Anne Truitt on view at Charlotte Jackson Fine Art

Silent Exchange: The landscape photography of Charlie Waite on view at the National Theatre

Exhibition of seminal works by Mario Schifano opens at Luxembourg & Dayan in London

'Sun Ra: When Sun Comes Out: Ephemera 1956-1975' opens at David Nolan Gallery

Pinker's paean to Kouebokkeveld artists set to soar at Strauss & Co's June auction

Exhibition at Secession brings together works of art and ‘everyday’ objects

Ideas in Things: Group exhibition opens at Maria Stenfors in London

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