RUSSIAN STATE UNIVERSITY FOR THE HUMANITIES
RUSSIAN STATE UNIVERSITY FOR THE HUMANITIES
Feminism in art discussed at the bookstore "U Kentavra"
25.09.2020

Feminism in art discussed at the bookstore "U Kentavra"

The complex circumstances of the life of the 17th century Italian artist Artemisia Gentileschi became the topic of a lecture delivered on September 17 at the bookstore of RSUH. A discussion about art and feminism took place afterwards.

“In modern society, there is a lot of talk about violence and trauma, about how to rebuild and replay them,” said art critic Dilshat Harman. "Gentileschi's life and work fit completely into this context."

Artemisia Gentileschi was the eldest daughter of the Tuscan artist Orazio Gentileschi. The girl was born in Rome and studied painting in her father's workshop, which was normal then: a wife skilled in a craft could help her husband in his work. Her first known work, “Susanna and the Elders”, was in fact considered for some time the work of her father.

In 1612 the artist was sexually assaulted. After a long trial, her good name was restored, but her experience remained forever in her works. For example, it was reflected in the work "Judith Beheading Holofernes". After the trial Artemisia got married and left for Florence. She became one of the few female artists of the 17th century known to us today.





Dr. Valeria Kosyakova and Dr. Dilshat Harman, faculty members of the Center for Visual Research of RSUH, spoke about the life and works of Artemisia Gentileschi, and then, together with translator Pyotr Epifanov and philosopher Tatyana Levina, discussed how violence was perceived in the 17th century, what role it plays in changing attitude to it today, talked about the study of history of art and how much one needs to know about the circumstances of the artist's life for the interpretation of his or her works.

“Artemisia Gentileschi is a figurehead for feminism, primarily the European-American feminism,” stressed Dr. Kosyakova. - That is why it seemed so important to us to start discussing her in the Russian-speaking intellectual space. We tried to look at her as a person who left her imprint in the form of  documents and paintings, to evaluate the image that was constructed of her in the feminist agenda of the twentieth century. To be a female researcher, a female intellectual, a woman who participates in political life is always uncomfortable for classical or archaic cultures."