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'Danaë', c.1612 / © Saint Louis, The Saint Louis Art Museum
'Judith et Abra avec la tête d’Holopherne', c. 1607-10 / © Mauro Coen
'Judith et la servante avec la tête d’Holopherne', c. 1645-50 / © Musée de la Castre, Cannes / Photo Claude Germain
'Bethsabée au bain', c. 1640-45 / © Photo Courtesy Sotheby's, Milano
'Judith et Holopherne', c. 1612 / © Fototeca Soprintendenza per il PSAE e per il Polo museale della città di Napoli
'Cléopâtre', c. 1635 / © Collection particulière

While Judith was decapitating Holofernes, Danaë was having fun in the sack: The paintings of Artemisia Gentileschi (on show at the Musée Maillol between March 14th and July 15th) are so expressive you can practically smell the blood and sweat. They also portray women as assertive beings, capable of giving themselves over to both crime and pleasure (often both at the same time), thus breaking away for the sexist conventions of the 17th-century. Her work was shunned by patriarchal society for centuries; but finally the ‘forgotten’ daughter of Orazio Gentileschi is being recognized as one of the most revolutionary Italian artists of the Baroque period. This exhibition, at the Musée Maillol, reinstates Artemisia as a painting genius – and about time too!

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