Artemisia Gentileschi is an icon for feminist art historians: the early 17th century Roman is the first (known) great woman artist, and her surviving paintings offer evidence of an individual who broke through the patriarchal expectations of the day. Her story is ripe for filming, but writer/director Merlet seems caught between two approaches: to deliver an arts documentary-style portrait of a woman making her way in a man's world, or to spice up the proceedings with bodice-ripping rites of passage. In the end, we get a bit of both, from the moment Artemisia (Cervi) is discovered in a nunnery, sketching her own naked body by candlelight. On seeing the drawings, her father, the successful painter Orazio Gentileschi (Serrault), allows her to study in his studio. When she becomes fascinated by experiments in perspective being shaped by the Florentine maverick, Agostino Tassi, Orazio allows her to take lessons with him. But what she learns goes far beyond the canvas - eventually her father gets Tassi (Manojlovic) arrested for rape. Beautiful costumes, elegant cinematography and assured performances, but the drama lacks the imaginative resources to get right inside its remarkable protagonist. Racy costume drama, none the less.
Cast and crew
|Screenwriter:||Christine Miller, Patrick Amos, Agnès Merlet|