Life and Art of Artemisia Gentileschi > Artemisia's life in Rome > Next Painting

Artemisia's life in Rome

Artemisia's childhood in Rome (1593-1612)

Artemisia was born on 8th July 1593 in her parents' home on Via Ripetta, near S. Giacomo degli Incurabili. She was the first born child of Orazio, then 30, and Prudentia, then 18. She was baptised on 10th July at S. Lorenzo in Lucina.

The Gentileschi family always lived in the artists' quarter between Piazza del Popolo and Piazza di Spagna, in the Campo Marzio (Field of Mars) Rione of Rome. The church of Sta Maria del Popolo (built 1520) contains works by Raphael, Bernini and Caravaggio (Conversion of St Paul, Martyrdom of St Peter).

Orazio and Prudentia had four sons after Artemisia, two of whom are recorded as dying in childhood:

  1. Giovanni Battista, born Dec 1594, died Sept 1601.
  2. Francesco, born June 1597.
  3. Giulio, born Sept 1599.
  4. Giovanni Battista, born Oct 1601, died Feb 1603.

From 1597 to 1600, Artemisia's family resided in the Piazza Santa Trinità, now known as Piazza Spagni (The Spanish Steps).

Between 1601 and 1611, the Gentileschi family is recorded as residing in two different residences in Via Paolini (now Via del Babuino), near Via Margutta, and on the corner of Via dei Greci. They moved to Via Margutta itself (still an artists' area in Rome) and lived there between September 1602 to April 1611. From there, they moved to Via della Croce, where Artemisia was raped by Tassi. Soon after this, but before he was aware of the rape, Orazio moved his family to Borgo Sto. Spirito in Sassia, where he was working with Tassi on the church frescoes.

Her father and Carvaggio were part of the "Via della Croce clique" accused by a fellow artist, Giovanni Baglione, of libel against him in 1605. Caravaggio had clear influence on the older Orazio's painting style, and thus on Artemisia's emerging style.

During Artemisia's childhood and adolescence, Rome was undergoing a dramatic transformation under the influence of Pope Sixtus V, with the creation of large architectural spaces and the building of many new churches. Also, there was a great increase in the number of major art works in palaces and churches, such as Carraci's frescoes in the Farnese Gallery and Caravaggio's paintings in S. Luigi dei Francesi and S. Maria del Popolo.

Artemisia was confirmed on 12th June 1605 at S. Giovanni in Laterano. Artemisia's mother died, aged 30, in childbirth, on 26th Dec 1605, and was buried at he church of Sta Maria del Popolo. Artemisia just was 12 years old.

Artemisia married Pierantonio Stiattesi, a Florentine artist, on 29th November 1612 (two days after Tassi was sentenced to exile), at the church of Sto. Spirito in Sassia. They left Rome within a few weeks of their marriage.

Artemisia's adulthood in Rome (1621-1627)

Artemisia returned to Rome in 1621-2, with her husband, Pierantonio Stiattesi, and her daughter, Prudentia/Palmira. They lived in her old neighbourhood on Via del Corso, but she was also sublet a small apartment on Via della Croce for reasons that are unclear.

In 1622, her husband is charged with assaulting one of a group of Spaniards, who were outside their home serenading Artemisia. By the following year, he is no longer listed as household member and it appears that they have separated permanently. She continued to live in Rome until about 1627, before moving to Venice.

During her second Roman period, the papal influence by Urban VIII continued the artistic expansion, carried out by the famous sculptor, Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Artemisia continued to live in an area heavily populated by artists, including an influx of Dutch and Flemish painters.

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