The documentary film screens Friday, June 17 at 6:30pm in the Cheek Theatre at VMFA. Filmmakers Ellen Weissbrod and Melissa Powell will be present with Judith Mann, Curator from the St Louis Art Museum.
If you are an artist, art historian or art lover, this film is for you. If you are a student or educator, this film is for you. If you are a person striving to find the confidence to reach your highest potential, in whatever field or endeavor, this film is for you. A Woman Like That reveals the life story, both factual and mythologized, of the great Baroque (and female) painter, Artemisia Gentileschi. A charming plus—and the unconventionality of this documentary—comes from the painter’s story being entwined and revealed through the “coming of middle-age” narrative of the filmmaker herself, Ellen Weissbrod.
Artemisia Gentileschi lived 1593 to roughly 1692 in Italy, though she traveled Europe for her work. She was trained as a painter by her father, an adherent of the Caravaggio style. Caravaggio’s influence is integral to Artemisia’s work as well, but her approach to subject matter and composition, and her ability to paint flesh, were extraordinary in her time and far superior to that of her father’s, though the present day art market still declines to think so.
The film gives us a great opportunity to view paintings by Artemisia Gentileschi in all their fantastic splendor: Judith and Holofernes, Susanna and the Elders, female saints, Goddesses like Diana and Venus. The nuance and intelligence of her subject matter and specifically her interpretation of age-old feminine iconography, shows a fortitude both as a painter and as a woman that endears her to so many today. This endearment is made all the more palpable since Artemisia Gentileschi was all but forgotten until feminist art historians began to research her life and work in the late 20th century, bringing her back into the public eye, where she had been quite prominent in her own day. This film takes the resurrection of Artemisia one step further and attempts to bring her to life as a complex woman, not just a rape victim or daughter of a painter, but an innovative artist and businesswoman. Weissbrod succeeds in this by offering her own life journey and obsession with Artemisia as a door open to us, kindly inviting us in.
Information about the film & Artemisia Gentileschi: awomanlikethatfilm.com
Details of the VMFA screening on Friday, June 17: VMFA Films