Rijksmuseum Twenthe unravings with Artemisia Gentileschi

Cultural autumn promises to be spectacular with a lot of attention to top female artists. Not only can art lovers and feminists look forward to the great Frida Kahlo exhibition that opens in October at the Drents Museum. The Rijksmuseum Twenthe also presents a world-famous woman who successfully manifested herself in the man-dominated art world: the Italian Baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi (1593-after 1654).

From 26 September 2021 to 23 January 2022, the Rijksmuseum Twenthe, together with Davide Sandrini van Start, organises a spectacular exhibition about her life and work, presenting twenty unique works by her hand together with the work of male contemporaries. Never before has there been such a large selection of Artemisia‘s works in the Netherlands.

The Beyoncé of Art History

Last year there was a major retrospective of her work in London. The British press wrote praise about her Baroque Bible scenes. The Telegraph even called her the queen bee of female empowerment and the Beyoncé within art history.


fact that Artemisia Gentileschi has been seen for decades as a symbol of the struggle against patriarchy and carried by feminists is also due to her special course of life. The young Artemisia learned the profession initially from her father, the artist Orazio Gentileschi in Rome. At his intercession, she was accepted as students of Agostino Tassi in 1611. This landscape painter taught her how to master perspective drawing, but also raped his pupil.

Painful lawsuit

The disconcerted artist expected her teacher to marry her. To restore her violated honor. Ultimately, it was her father who dragged Tassi to court. An extremely painful lawsuit followed, in which the victim was tortured to test her testimony for authenticity. Also, the young Artemisia had to undergo an extremely humiliating gynecological examination. It is true that Tassi was ultimately sentenced to exile from Rome. But that punishment was never seriously executed.

Artemisia repacked himself, married another artist, and built a brilliant career. Not infrequently she used herself and her body as a model for her history pieces. In fact, in the seventeenth century she was so well known that just like the Oprah’s and Lindas of this world, only her first name was sufficient.

For the exhibition, which is entitled Artimisia. Women & Power will wear, there will be loans from various foreign collections to Enschede. There are paintings from the collection of the Pitti Palace in Florence, Capodimonte Museum in Naples and the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest.