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Susanna and the Elders (1610) © Kunstsammlungen Graf von Schönborn, Pommersfelden

Artemisia Gentileschi

Sticking it to the man: first look at 'feminist icon' Artemisia Gentileschi's works for National Gallery show

Exhibition on rediscovered 17th-century artist, which includes rare loans, is due to open in London in April

The National Gallery today revealed the first details of its much-anticipated Artemisia Gentileschi exhibition, scheduled for April this year. The show Artemisia will present 30 of her finest paintings, nearly half of which are from private collections and many of these are rarely lent.

Two works, Cleopatra (1611-12) and Lucretia (1620-25) are owned by the Milanese fashion designer Gimmo Etro, who collects Baroque pictures. What may come as a surprise is that the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, based in Rome, is lending a portrait of an unknown lady (mid 1620s).

The rediscovered Mary Magdalene in Ecstasy (1620-25) is coming from a private European collector, after its sale at Sotheby’s in 2014 for €865,500. This will be its first presentation in an Artemisia exhibition. It is currently in a Baroque show at Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches Museum (until 19 January) which then goes to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam (opening 4 February). Although the Rijksmuseum show runs until June, the picture will leave early for the London opening.

The National Gallery exhibition will also include four letters (1618-20) discovered in 2011 in the private archive of the Frescobaldi family in Florence. Newly conserved, and being shown for the first time outside Italy, they are addressed to Artemisia’s lover Francesco Maringhi.

Letizia Treves, the exhibition curator, describes the recent interest in Artemisia, who at the age of 17 was raped by the artist Agostino Tassi, as “a 20th century rediscovery of a feminist icon”. But Treves is keen to present her art, rather than to dwell on her biography.

Finaldi also announced that ownership of Orazio’s The Finding of Moses (early 1630s) was formally transferred to the National Gallery this week, following a £19.5m fundraising campaign.

The exhibition is sponsored by the bank Intesa Sanpaolo.

• Artemisia, National Gallery, London, 4 April-26 July

Jael and Sisera (1620)
© Szépmüvészeti Múzeum / Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest (75.11)

Jael and Sisera (1620)

Susannah and the Elders (1622)
© The Burghley House Collection

Artemisia Gentileschi, Susannah and the Elders (1622)

Judith and her maidservant with the Head of Holofernes (around 1608)
© Nasjonalgalleriet, Oslo / photo: Børre Høstland

Orazio Gentileschi, Judith and her maidservant with the Head of Holofernes (around 1608)

Susanna and the Elders (1610)
© Kunstsammlungen Graf von Schönborn, Pommersfelden (inv. 191)

Artemisia Gentileschi, Susanna and the Elders (1610)

Self Portrait as a Lute Player (around 1615-18)
© Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, Connecticut

Artemisia Gentileschi, Self Portrait as a Lute Player (around 1615-18)

Saint Catherine of Alexandria (around 1615-17)
© Gabinetto fotografico delle Gallerie degli Uffizi

Artemisia Gentileschi, Saint Catherine of Alexandria (around 1615-17)

Judith and her Maidservant (around 1615-17)
© Gabinetto fotografico delle Gallerie degli Uffizi

Artemisia Gentileschi, Judith and her Maidservant (around 1615-17)

Judith beheading Holofernes (around 1612-13)
© ph. Luciano Romano / Museo e Real Bosco di Capodimonte 2016

Artemisia Gentileschi, Judith beheading Holofernes (around 1612-13)

Judith and her Maidservant (around 1623-25)
© The Detroit Institute of Arts

Artemisia Gentileschi, Judith and her Maidservant (around 1623-25)

Portrait of a Gonfaloniere (1622)
Collezioni Comunali d’Arte, Bologna © courtesy the owner

Artemisia Gentileschi, Portrait of a Gonfaloniere (1622)

Esther before Ahasuereus (around 1628-30)
© The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Artemisia Gentileschi, Esther before Ahasuereus (around 1628-30)

Joseph and Potiphar’s Wife (around 1630-32)
Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019

Orazio Gentileschi, Joseph and Potiphar’s Wife (around 1630-32)

The Birth of St John the Baptist (around 1635)
© Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid (P000149)

Artemisia Gentileschi, The Birth of St John the Baptist (around 1635)

Self Portrait as the Allegory of Painting (La Pittura, around1638-39)
Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019

Artemisia Gentileschi, Self Portrait as the Allegory of Painting (La Pittura, around1638-39)

Susanna and the Elders (1652)
© Pinacoteca Nazionale Bologna (6320)

Artemisia Gentileschi, Susanna and the Elders (1652)

Mary Magdalene in Ecstasy (around 1620-25)
Private European collection © Photo: Dominique Provost Art Photography - Bruges

Artemisia Gentileschi, Mary Magdalene in Ecstasy (around 1620-25)

Lot and his Daughters (around 1636-38)
© Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, Ohio (1983.107)

Artemisia Gentileschi, Lot and his Daughters (around 1636-38)

Cleopatra (around 1633-35)
© Private Collection / Photo Giorgio Benni

Artemisia Gentileschi, Cleopatra (around 1633-35)

Portrait of Artemisia Gentileschi on a bronze medal by an unknown artist (around 1625)
The Stephen K. and Janie Woo Scher Collection, New York © Photo: The Frick Collection

Portrait of Artemisia Gentileschi on a bronze medal by an unknown artist (around 1625)

Portrait of a Lady Holding a Fan (1620s)
Sovereign Military Order of Malta © Photo courtesy of the owner

Artemisia Gentileschi, Portrait of a Lady Holding a Fan (1620s)

David and Bathsheba (around 1636-37)
© Columbus Museum of Art

Artemisia Gentileschi, David and Bathsheba (around 1636-37)

Pierre Dumonstier II's The Right Hand of Artemisia Gentileschi Holding a Brush (1625)
The British Museum, London © The Trustees of The British Museum

Pierre Dumonstier II's The Right Hand of Artemisia Gentileschi Holding a Brush (1625)

Jerôme David's Portrait of Artemisia Gentileschi (after a self portrait by Artemisia, around 1627-28)
The British Museum, London © The Trustees of The British Museum

Jerôme David's Portrait of Artemisia Gentileschi (after a self portrait by Artemisia, around 1627-28)

Self Portrait as a Female Martyr (around 1613-14)
Private collection © Photo courtesy of the owner

Artemisia Gentileschi, Self Portrait as a Female Martyr (around 1613-14)

Corisca and the Satyr (around 1635-37)
Private collection, Italy © Photo courtesy of the owner

Artemisia Gentileschi, Corisca and the Satyr (around 1635-37)

Saint Januarius in the Amphitheatre at Pozzuoli (around 1635-37)
Cathedral Basilica San Procolo, Diocese of Pozzuoli, Naples © Photo courtesy the owner

Artemisia Gentileschi, Saint Januarius in the Amphitheatre at Pozzuoli (around 1635-37)

Danaë (around 1612)
© Saint Louis Art Museum

Artemisia Gentileschi, Danaë (around 1612)