2020 is the year of Artemisia Gentileschi – or, at least, she is the current queen in one corner of the art world. I’ll point out that I’ve known about her for the past 30 years. Since I made one of her paintings the central plot point in my 1990 historical romance And Heaven Too.
And Heaven Too and the National Gallery in London
The National Gallery in London originally scheduled the Gentileschi exhibition for Spring 2020. We all know what happened to prevent the showing. The exhibition finally opened in October … only to be shut down again. The National Gallery is giving it another go as of tomorrow (December 2). And the exhibition will run until January 24, 2021.
Recently I’ve had And Heaven Too reedited and now have an updated cover. (See title image.) This week I will be offering my story for free to the National Gallery. I know novels have been written about Gentileschi’s life. I don’t think there’s another novel that values her work by making it central to the plot.
My story is set in 1639. My hero has the great good taste to fall in love with Gentileschi’s Judith on sight:
Fingers crossed the curator Letizia Treves will take my offer seriously!
And Heaven Too and Artemisia
A few weeks ago Liam Hess of Vogue wrote an article on her work in connection with the London event. I already knew quite a bit about Gentileschi’s work and life. However, I did not know the information Hess opened his article with:
“In July 2018, London’s National Gallery acquired a self-portrait by the Baroque artist Artemisia Gentileschi, featuring the painter in the guise of Saint Catherine of Alexandria. Almost immediately, it drew an unprecedented level of media attention. First of all, there was its $4.7 million price tag. Then, there was the fact it was painted by one of the greatest artists of the 17th century, who just so happens to be a woman, marking only the 20th painting by a female artist within the gallery’s collection of more than 2,300 works.”
Let’s go over this again. In 2018 the National Gallery acquired only the 20th painting by a female artist. Within the gallery’s collection of more than 2,300 works?!
I’ve said it once. And I’ll say it again. “Hey, National Gallery, I’m way ahead of you!”
See also: Artemisia Gentileschi: A Painter to Know
This post was written by Julie Tetel Andresen