Graduation Year

2010

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.L.A.

Degree Granting Department

Humanities and Cultural Studies

Major Professor

Naomi Yavneh, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Annette Cozzi, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Giovanna Benadusi, Ph.D.

Keywords

Baroque, Susanna and the Elders, self referential

Abstract

Artemisia Gentileschi’s Susanna and the Elder’s trilogy consisting of her 1610,

1622 and 1649 paintings is a self referential series based on the artist’s own feelings of

betrayal by the men in her life. These works are comprised of her first canvas showing

youthful fear, and a very importantly timed work in mid-career symbolizing commercial

success. In these, she relates the Apocryphal tale of Susanna and the Elders to events that

are happening to Gentileschi at each stage of her life and career, aging the figures of

Susanna and the Elders along with the appropriate time in her own life. In the final

canvas of the trilogy, Gentileschi brings the work to full circle, using the story to make

peace with her past by visualizing a reconciliation with her father Orazio, from whom she

had been estranged from her most of her career, both as parent and as artistic mentor.

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