The Passion of Artemisia
Susan Vreeland, 2002
Penguin Group USA
Set against the lush tapestry of Renaissance Rome, this is a mesmerizing tale of love, art, and most notably, the love of art. After Artemisia Gentileschi, a promising young painter, is raped by her instructor, a papal court orders her torture and her father betrays her. Shamed but not vanquished, she asks her harsh parent to arrange her marriage to another painter and, thus vindicated in the eyes of society and the church, she begins a new life. But not a happy one.
Artemisia's visceral passion to create art—specifically, to depict on canvas the kind of strong heroine she herself has become—threatens to overwhelm her roles as wife and daughter. Her struggle to reconcile her conflicting passions lies at the heart of Artemisia's story, ingeniously crafted by Susan Vreeland, whose gift of language is matched by her uncanny ability to evoke a distant time and place.
Vreeland's previous novel, the best-selling Girl in Hyacinth Blue, dazzled the critics and was voted a Book Sense Book of the Year finalist. Once again bringing the visual arts to vivid life, The Passion of Artemisia is a glowing, subtly delineated portrait of a remarkable woman—the first to make a significant contribution to art history. (From the publisher.)
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