The connection between art and gender has become much more pronounced in recent years with the rise of feminism, and as a result, there has been much interest in tracing back the origins of this connection, as well as the origins of art which empowers women. Italian Baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi has been an especially important person of interest in this field; she challenged the limits imposed on women artists of her time, though not without hardship. Several
of her artworks remain famous to this day—they are arguably even more famous today than ever before—yet many people do not focus as much on her self-portraits as they do on her history paintings. This thesis is meant to provide some deeper analysis of her self-portraits, as well as some of her other paintings which have been popularly interpreted as containing instances of self-insertion. Artemisia’s self-portraits can be seen as protofeminist works, given the grand and
bold manner in which she would image herself. Through her self-portraits and
artistic self-insertions, one can come to learn more about Artemisia Gentileschi’s own identity, as well as how she viewed women, and how she viewed the overall society in which she lived. By depicting herself in more creative and allegorical forms, Artemisia was able to take control of her own image and present herself to the world as she viewed herself.