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France, 1997, 96 minutes, Colour.
Michel Serrault, Valentina Cervi, Miki Manojiovic.
Directed by Agnes Merlet.

Artemisia (Valentina Cervi) is Italian. Daughter of a famous painter, she is very talented and wants to train as an artist. As might be expected, this portrait of Artemisia is written with a 20th century perspective and shows the assumptions about men only as painters and the vistimisation of women and sexual harassment. This is quite an impressive film about art and inspiration as well as about artists. Some intense sexual moments mean that the film is rated R. However, it is frequently beautiful and thought provoking.

1. Audience knowledge of Artemisia (1593-1652)? As a woman artist of the 17th century? Her place in Italian art of the period?

2. The film as a biography, the film as a semi-fictitious drama, the exploration of themes in the life and work of Artemisia rather than an accurate history?

3. The 17th century settings, costumes and décor, the film’s lighting according to the art theory of the period, especially the art of Caravaggio? The presentation of art theory in the dialogue of the film? Perspective, colour?

4. The portrait of Artemisia, her life in Rome, as a teenager, her father being successful? The rules of the church, women not being painters? Her abilities, the support of her father, her working in his studio?

5. The issues of anatomy for art of the time, Artemisia and her own body as a model, her spying on the couple on the beach, the young fisherman, drawing his naked body, the kiss? Her wanting to learn more about the human form for her art?

6. Her personality, age and maturity and immaturity? Her relationship with her father?

7. The arrival of Tassi, from Florence? His skills, perspective techniques, innovations? Her attraction towards him? Tassi as a character, his reputation, debauchery, his working with her father on the frescoes? Artemisia and her spying on him, seeing the orgy in his house? Her relationship with him, her becoming a student, her modelling for him, the seduction, his love for her?

8. The long-time relationship, his coaching her? Her father, the spying, the discovery of the truth? His having Tassi arrested, the charge of rape, wanting to force Tassi to marry his daughter?

9. Tassi’s friends, their conversations about Artemisia, her reputation, especially the scandal of her life drawings from men? Using her art as evidence?

10. Artemisia on trial, her declaration that she was a virgin, the revelation of the truth? The ironies that Tassi had a wife and son at home?

11. The effect on Artemisia, her visiting Tassi, his imprisonment, her continuing to work? The sentence for torture? Tassi and his heroism, confession to rape, his wanting to save Artemisia? His being sentenced to jail?

12. Artemisia, never seeing Tassi, her growing reputation, the first great female painter?

13. Interest in Artemisia’s story, feminists and her role in art? This film as a rather more glowing interpretation of Artemisia’s life and work than the hard reality?

Created by: coffey last modification: Tuesday 28 of April, 2009 [10:10:45 UTC] by malone

Language: en