In her luminous debut, Susan Vreeland told the story of a Vermeer painting that transformed the lives of many owners with its beauty. Now, in her stunning new novel, she tells the story of a painter who transformed Renaissance Italy with the beauty of her work. The Passion of Artemisia chronicles the extraordinary life of Artemisia Gentileschi, the first woman to make a significant contribution to art history.
At age eighteen, Artemisia Gentileschi finds herself humiliated in papal court for publicly accusing the man who raped her Agostino Tassi, her painting teacher. When even her father does not stand up for her, she knows she cannot stay in Rome and begs to have a marriage arranged for her. Her new husband, an artist named Pietro Stiatessi, takes her to his native Florence, where her talent for painting blossoms and she becomes the first woman elected to the Accademia dell'Arte. But marriage clashes with Artemisia's newfound fame as a painter, and she begins a lifelong search to reconcile painting and motherhood, passion and genius.
Set against the glorious backdrops of Rome, Florence, and Genoa, people with historical characters such as Cosimo de'Medici and Galileo and filled with details of the life of a Renaissance painter, The Passion of Artemisia is the story of Gentileschi's struggle to find love, forgiveness, and wholeness through her art. At once a dramatic tale of love and a moving father-daughter story, it is the portrait of an astonishing woman that will captivate lovers of Gentileschi's paintings and anyone interested in the life of a woman who ignored the conventions of her day and dared to follow her heart.
San Francisco Chronicle
Vreeland's remarkable ability...makes this novel an accomplished work of art.
Book Magazine - Susan Tekulve
Like Gentileschi's important works, The Passion of Artemisia provides an imaginative and respectful point of view to a compelling woman's story.
After her brilliant Girl in Hyacinth Blue (1999), Vreeland shows a deep knowledge of art once more but also veers toward message and melodrama.
Forthright and imaginative, Vreeland's deft recreation ably showcases art and life.... Fans of Girl in Hyacinth Blue will be pleased with The Passion of Artemisia, which reprises many of the themes of its predecessor.
Booklist - Kristine Huntley The Passion of Artemisia offers a vivid portrait of a complex female artist who doggedly pursues her passion despite seemingly overwhelming obstacles. This accomplished novel should appeal particularly to those who enjoyed the author's previous book.
Vreeland triumphed with Girl in Hyacinth Blue, last year's other best seller featuring Vermeer (along with Tracy Chevalier's Girl With A Pearl Earring, of course). Vreeland revisits the art world with this fictionalized account of Renaissance painter Artemisia Gentileschi, the first woman to get elected to the Accademia dell'Arte.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by Joy Stout
Our local General Federation of Women's Clubs read this book and discussed it. The book was an engaging, graphic account of Artemisia. It gave the reader a deep sense of how it was to be a woman in the 1600's and how extraordinary this woman... Read More
Rated of 5
by Lynn Foggle
Perhaps because I am an artist I chose to recommend this book to our book club. Since no one else had any objection it was agreed upon and subsequently, each woman has called to thank me for a wonderful read.... and we haven't had our "book... Read More
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