The Passion of Artemisia

by Susan Vreeland

Steeped in art and history, this is a fascinating story of the life, loves and suffering of Artemisia Gentileschi, Italy's most famous female artist. She is a woman to be admired for her determination to overcome scandal in court and gain acceptance in art circles, but pitied as she is betrayed by the men she loves.


When I drew my hand away, a few drops of blood had landed on the white covers of Holofernes's bed. The deep brilliant red against the white thrilled me. I squeezed out more blood, feeling pleasure in the pain, and let it fall below his head, mixed vermilion and madder to match the red, and added more. Streams of it. A deep crimson waterfall soaking into luxurious, tufted bedcovers. Like the blood soaking my sleeve in court. Or the blood I had tried to staunch after the first rape. A smear of blood across Judith's knuckles too. If Rome craved spectacle, then I would give them spectacle.


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