Watch Artemisia

"Her passion for her art changed the face of history."
  • R
  • 1997
  • 1 hr 38 min
  • 6.7  (2,186)

Artemisia is a 1997 French-Italian biographical drama film directed by Agnes Merlet. The plot revolves around Artemisia Gentileschi, a 17th-century Italian painter who defied sociocultural norms and created a name for herself in the art world. The film takes place in Rome and Florence during the Baroque period. It showcases the complexities of a societal system that had no place for women artists. Despite the limitations of her world, Artemisia (Valentina Cervi) fought hard to make her art visible to the world.

Artemisia is born to Orazio Gentileschi, a famous painter, and Prudenzia di Ottaviano Montoni in Rome in 1593. Growing up, she shows a natural talent for painting and is encouraged by her father. Orazio trains her in secret, and in time, she surpasses him in skill.

However, Artemisia's life is plagued by trials and tribulations. At the age of 18, she is raped by one of her father's assistants Agostino Tassi (Predrag 'Miki' Manojlovic). Her father takes her to court and prosecutes him, but the trial is more of a character assassination of Artemisia than a fair hearing. Tassi is found guilty but is freed sooner than he should have been.

This incident sets the tone for Artemisia's future. She is married off to a mediocre painter, Pietro Antonio di Vicenzo Stiattesi (Luigi Diberti) since no one wishes to put their daughter in contact with a woman with such infamy. The marriage is plagued by resentment from both ends.

Artemisia then meets Agostino Tassi again, and they begin an affair. By this time, Artemisia has made a reputation for herself, and despite the stain on her character, she is flourishing. Her art is celebrated throughout Rome, and patrons are more than happy to collaborate with her.

As her star rises, she must navigate the treacherous waters of male-dominated art spaces, power plays and patriarchal hierarchies that make her success almost impossible. Through her sheer will and determination to make a name for herself, Artemisia becomes the first woman accepted into the illustrious Accademia di Arte del Disegno in Florence.

Artemisia clashes with Michelangelo Buonarroti “il Giovane” (played by Michel Serrault), a powerful figure who uses his position to belittle and ridicule her. His words hurt her, and at times she is close to giving up. However, she perseveres and manages to paint some of the most significant works of her time, despite opposition from her family and peers.

Valentina Cervi portrays Artemisia as a force of nature, defying expectations and limitations placed on her gender. Her performance is remarkable, showing the various shades of a woman who has seen both misery and triumph. She manages to convey the complexities of Artemisia's character as she grapples with her pain, love, and ambition.

Michel Serrault plays a magnetic Michelangelo Buonarroti “il Giovane” who is not afraid to use his privilege to keep Artemisia in her place. His presence is felt throughout the movie, even when he is not on screen.

The cinematography is aesthetically pleasing, showcasing the beauty of the art and the cities in which it is made. The pacing is slow, taking time to delve into the characters and their motivations. The directors' attention to detail creates an immersive experience that transports the viewer to the Baroque age.

Artemisia is a movie that shows the harsh reality faced by female artists in a patriarchal society. It is a poignant reminder that even today, artists from marginalized communities struggle to have their voices heard. The film has a powerful message about the importance of talent and hard work in the face of systemic oppression.

In conclusion, Artemisia is a must-watch for anyone who enjoys drama and historical movies. It portrays an inspiring woman who fought for her place in history despite the odds stacked against her. Valentina Cervi gives an outstanding performance as Artemisia, making the audience root for her every step of the way.

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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 38 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.7  (2,186)