Andrew Graham-Dixon explores the history of the Royal Collection, one of the largest and most important art collections in the world, built up over 500 years.

Art, Passion & Power: The Story of the Royal Collection - Netflix

Type: Documentary

Languages: English

Status: Running

Runtime: 60 minutes

Premier: 2018-01-16

Art, Passion & Power: The Story of the Royal Collection - Artemisia Gentileschi - Netflix

Artemisia Gentileschi (Italian pronunciation: [arteˈmizja dʒentiˈleski]; July 8, 1593 – c. 1656) was an Italian Baroque painter, today considered one of the most accomplished painters in the generation following that of Caravaggio. In an era when female painters were not easily accepted by the artistic community or patrons, she was the first woman to become a member of the Accademia di Arte del Disegno in Florence and had international clientele. She specialized in painting pictures of strong and suffering women from myths, allegories, and the Bible- victims, suicides, warriors. Some of her best known themes are Susanna and the Elders (particularly the 1610 in Pommersfelden) and Judith Slaying Holofernes (most famous is her 1614-20 in Galleria degli Uffizi) and Judith and Her Maidservant (her version of 1625 at the Detroit Institute of Arts) that scholars currently know of.

She was known for being able to convincingly depict the female figure, anywhere between nude and fully clothed. Artemisia was also famous for her skill and talent in handling color, both overall in the composition but also in building depth. That she was a woman painting in the seventeenth century and that she was raped as a young woman by Agostino Tassi and participated in the prosecution of her rapist long overshadowed her achievements as an artist. For many years she was regarded as a curiosity. Today she is regarded as one of the most progressive and expressive painters of her generation.

Art, Passion & Power: The Story of the Royal Collection - Return to Rome, Venetian period (1621–30) - Netflix

Artemisia arrived in Rome the same year her father Orazio departed for Genoa. While there is not enough evidence for this, some believe that Artemisia followed her father to Genoa, asserting that this time together would have accentuated the similarity of their styles, making it often difficult to determine which of the two painted certain works. Most of the evidence, however, supports the notion that Artemisia remained in Rome, trying to find a home and raise her child. Although the master had been dead over a decade, Caravaggio's style was still highly influential and converted many painters to following his style (the so-called Caravaggisti), such as Carlo Saraceni (who returned to Venice 1620), Bartolomeo Manfredi, and Simon Vouet. She and Vouet would go on to have a professional relationship and would influence each other in terms of style and their learnings from Caravaggio's style. Painting styles in Rome during the early seventeenth century were diverse, however, demonstrating a more classic manner of the Bolognese disciples of the Carracci and the baroque style of Pietro da Cortona. It appears that Artemisia also was associated with the Academy of the Desiosi. She was celebrated with a portrait carrying the inscription “Pincturare miraculum invidendum facilius quam imitandum” (To paint a wonder is more easily envied than imitated). During the same period she became associated with Cassiano dal Pozzo, a humanist and a collector and lover of arts, while the visiting French artist Pierre Dumonstier II produced a black and red chalk drawing of her right hand in 1625. Despite her artistic reputation, her strong personality, and her numerous good relationships, however, Rome was not so lucrative as she hoped. Her style, tone of defiance, and strength relaxed. She painted less intense works; for instance, her second version of Susanna and the Elders (1622). The appreciation of her art was narrowed down to portraits and to her ability with biblical heroines. She did not receive any of the lucrative commissions for altarpieces. The absence of sufficient documentation makes it difficult to follow Artemisia's movements in this period. It is certain that between 1627 and as late as 1630, she moved to Venice, perhaps in search of richer commissions. Evidence for this is that verses and letters were composed in appreciation of her and her works in Venice. Although it is sometimes difficult to date her paintings, it is possible to assign certain works by her to these years, the Portrait of a Gonfaloniere, today in Bologna (a rare example of her capacity as portrait painter) and the Judith and her Maidservant today in the Detroit Institute of Arts. The Detroit painting is notable for her mastery of chiaroscuro and tenebrism (the effects of extreme lights and darks), techniques for which Gerrit van Honthorst, Trophime Bigot, and many others in Rome were famous. Her The Sleeping Venus, today in the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, and her Esther and Ahasuerus now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, are testimony to her assimilation of the lessons of Venetian luminism.

Art, Passion & Power: The Story of the Royal Collection - References - Netflix