Allegory of Inclination is a 1615-1617 oil on canvas painting by Artemisia Gentileschi on the ceiling of the Galleria in the Casa Buonarroti, in Florence. The painting depicts a young nude female seated in the heavens holding a compass. Her light-colored hair is elaborately styled and she is partially covered by swirling drapery (added later by another hand). A star appears above her head. The figure's features are similar to those in self-portraits in Gentileschi's work. The facial design, wispy hair and dimpled hands are characteristic of other paintings she created during her time in Florence. The figure was painted as nude; the nudity embarrassed the commissioner's great-nephew Leonardo da Buonarroto, and he commissioned Baldassare Franceschini to paint swirling veils and drapery over parts of it in 1684. As of November 2022, the painting is being restored. It will not be possible to physically remove the added drapery without damaging the work, so the restorers plan to create a digital replica of the original version "using ultraviolet light, diagnostic imaging and X-rays to differentiate Gentileschi's brush strokes from those of the artist covered the nudity. The six-month project will clean and virtually "unveil" the portrait as part of the Florence Academy of Art's "Artemisia Up Close" project. The restoration team plans to display the image in an exhibition next September.The head of the Artemisia project is Elizabeth Wicks.
Advancing Women Artists Foundation (AWA)The self-description and mission statement of the AWA:
The Advancing Women Artists Foundation (AWA) is an American not-for-profit organization with headquarters in Indianapolis, Indiana, and Florence, Italy. AWA is committed to identifying and restoring artwork by Florence's female artists in the city’s museums, churches, and storage facilities. The foundation achieves its mission through sponsoring restoration of artwork, and promoting research on female artists. As of 2018, AWA has restored 61 paintings and sculptures from the 15th century to the 20th century. Myriad paintings and sculptures by ground-breaking women artists have been overlooked for centuries and many works are currently in need of restoration. Compelling artistic treasures continue to be a silent, undiscovered part of the city’s creative heritage.Through education (lectures, books, seminars, and conferences) and by exhibiting these works in Florence and abroad, we can show this vital cultural legacy and its importance in Florence, in Italy and in the world.The website is extensive and well-done and has detailed biographies of 22 women (with samples of their work) from the period of the Florentine Renaissance into the 20th century.
This is their website available in both English and Italian with a single click.
AWA photo snip, above, is by Francesco Cacchiani/AWA
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Gentileschi's Lost Painting is Found and Restored, Hundreds of Years Later!
Gentileschi's, Susanna and the Elders, had lost its frame and attribution by the time it was put into storage more than 100 years ago. It is now back in public view after it was found in an inventory of art held by King Charles I (who died in 1649!) "We are so excited to announce the rediscovery of this important work by Artemisia Gentileschi," said Anna Reynolds, deputy surveyor of The King's Pictures, as the Royal Collection Trust unveiled the restored painting at Windsor Castle.
Gentileschi painted this scene 7 times between 1610 and her death in 1652. This restored one, shown above, is from 1638-40. (It shows what restorers started with; then an x-radiographic image, and then then fully restored product.)
In all we have 61 of her paintings. Seven of them are of this same scene, from the book of Daniel in the Old Testament. That book is accepted by some Christian denominations and considered apocryphal by others. That doesn't matter. The book of Daniel has had an impact on Western culture out of all proportion to its brief size, largely due to this story. The appeal is universal and is not only one of the most painted of all biblical stories, but there have been 67 plays written about it, and music composed about it. It is the first of Gentileschi's works that we know of and it is her last. She was obsessed by the story, perhaps because it paralleled her own life: she was falsely accused, then tortured, but then vindicated. If there is a feel-good story in the Bible, this is it --goodness, truth, and justice triumph over evil
This particular restored painting dates to the late 1630s, and was wrongly attributed simply to "French School," according to the Royal Collection Trust. During a recent inventory, curators realized the canvas's shadowy subjects matched a description of Susanna and the Elders in previous records, depicting the biblical story of a beautiful young woman being leered at by older men at her bath. Restorers of the Royal Collection Trust used X-radiography analysis and infrared reflectography to show layers that were invisible to the naked eye. Some of those examinations showed Artemisia's work process, showing elements she changed, herself. The restoration also uncovered details and colors that viewers saw in the 17th century, but had since been dulled by thick varnish. Restoration was precise and painstaking.