Date of Award

Fall 12-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Art History



First Advisor

Dr. James Hutson

Second Advisor

Dr. Melissa Elmes

Third Advisor

Dr. Alexis Culotta


This thesis will analyze and document the historiographic perspective of Artemisia Gentileschi and the changing perspective of the artist and her artwork since the 1960s. The research will explore the changing of perception of Artemisia through various methodologies to understand the evolution of her story. By looking at the change from modernism to postmodernism, I will explain how the latter opened up the feminist movement and methodology, and how the four waves of feminism have directly impacted the perception of her life and her body of work. Without these changes, scholarship would not have developed a greater understanding of Artemisia and the understanding of her work that continues to be celebrated in the twenty-first century. Though this celebration was long overdue as her work and life was scrutinized prior to the 1970s. This work is significant to the field of study regarding Artemisia because it differs from the typical scholarship connected to the artist. Typical scholarship that is connected to Artemisia explores the influence of her personal experiences, more specifically the rape and trial. Others explore the impact of her gender or the comparison of her father’s work. More recently, scholarship has begun to focus on the recent understanding of her intellect and possible feminist ideals. However, there has been little focus on how we have arrived at this modern-day Artemisia. Furthermore, I will connect the perception of Artemisia’s work to the development of women's rights as they expanded throughout the 1970s, 1980s and though modern day. Each wave of feminism, and the expansion of women’s rights, has provided a new, more in-depth understanding of Artemisia that is reflective of the current political situation. The thesis will also explore her depictions of Judith, Susanna, Cleopatra, and Lucretia as they have been viewed throughout the course of history. In reviewing these works we can gain a deeper understanding of her voice in a broader spectrum by looking at four heroines. The understanding of each has come with the growth of the female voice and the understanding of women in society.