Art History, Artists, Baroque, Impressionism, On this day..., Painters

Two great artists and women

This post is about two of the greatest female artists: Baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi and many years later the Impressionist painter Mary Cassatt.

Artemisia Gentileschi

She was a Baroque painter, considered as one of the most accomplished painters in the generation following Caravaggio. By that time, women were not easily accepted by the artistic community or patrons.

She is famous for painting many examples of strong and suffering women from the Bible and mythology as victims, suicides, warriors.  Her best-known work is Judith slaying Holofernes a well-known medieval and Baroque subject in art, the painting shows the decapitation of Holofernes, a scene of horrific struggle.

Judith slaying Holofernes by Artemisia Gentileschi, 1612-13 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mary Cassatt

She was an American painter born in Pennsylvania, but she lived many years of her adult life in France, there she met Edgar Degas, who introduced her to the others Impressionists painters. Cassat and Degas had a long period of collaboration and their studios were very close.

Her work often shows images of the social and private lives of women with particular emphasis on the intimate bonds between mothers and children.

Maternité by Mary Cassatt, 1890 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


  • Artemisia Gentileschi was the first woman to become member of the Accademia di Arte del disegno in Florence.
  • Mary Cassatt was described by Gustave Geffroy as one of “les trois grandes dames” of Impressionism with Berthe Morisot and Marie Bracquemond.
  • Artemisia Gentileschi was regarded as a curiosity for many years, but this has changed and today she is regarded as one of the most progressive and expressive painters of her generation.
  • Mary Cassat inspired many Canadian women artists who were members of the Beaver Hall Group.




3 thoughts on “Two great artists and women”

  1. Geraldine Johnson has a chapter headed, Did Women Have a Renaissance? in her Very Short Introduction – Renaissance Art. Lorenzo Lotto and Lavinia Fontana are discussed along with Gentilenschi.


  2. Artemisia Gentileschi is such a fascinating figure. Her Judith is my favorite depiction. Even without knowing about her rape, the trial, it is an incredibly compelling Judith.

    Love what you’re doing here! So many female artists not given their due (I almost hit the ceiling when I saw Emma Sandys described as only Frederick’s sister. Ugh…)

    Liked by 1 person

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