The long-awaited, much-delayed exhibition dedicated to the female Old Master Artemisia Gentileschi at London's National Gallery has had a turbulent existence, akin to that of the artist herself. After finally opening on 3 October, months after its scheduled vernissage in April and following fears the show would be cancelled altogether, the show is once again hidden behind closed doors due to the national lockdown in England. Luckily, The Art Newspaper managed to film a snippet of the exhibition as well as recording an in-depth podcast tour with the curator Letizia Treves for The Week in Art before the show closed to the public.
Artemisia, which is due to end on 24 January 2021, is the gallery’s first major show dedicated to a female artist in its 196-year history. The exhibition is part of a growing trend for exhibitions and studies into women artists from 16th- and 17th-century Italy, with an show devoted to Sofonisba Anguissola and Lavinia Fontana at the Prado last year, and another last spring in Florence of works by Giovanna Garzoni.
Thirty works by Artemisia (1593-1654 or later), the daughter of the artist Orazio Gentileschi, have been loaned for the National Gallery exhibition, with half coming from Italian lenders. Also on show is a portrait of Artemisia by Simon Vouet (1623-26), from a collection in Pisa, and the never-before-exhibited, original transcript of the Rome trial when Artemisia, aged around 18, accused fellow artist Agostino Tassi of rape.