Artemisia visits a girls’ school | National Gallery
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Artemisia visits a girls’ school | National Gallery

I never thought I’d like see
something like that. Like wow. We’re taking our star painting to places a painting would never
normally go to. To bring it up here, I think it’s a
genius idea from the National Gallery. So we’re here in Newcastle for the
third stop of Artemisia Visits at Sacred Heart Catholic High School. It’s really important to us to bring
the painting to a school to really inspire the students. And also highlight the importance
of art in the curriculum. Well good morning year seven and eight. You will have noticed that we
have something very special with us today at Sacred Heart. Our society of the Sacred Heart
schools were set up in the 1800s by a very pioneering group of women who decided that girls
needed to be educated and that they wanted them to go out and influence
the society around them for the better. And I think that links
beautifully with Artemisia. It’s a self-portrait as Saint
Catherine of Alexandria. I want you to think, what are
your first impressions whether you knew about this
painting before or not. You can tell by her eyes in a way it
shows like strength and confidence and, like, that glare,
shows that she’s been through a lot but just came back from it. She looks very independent. Artemisia was born in Rome and she
grew up in her father’s household. Her father, Orazio Gentileschi, was a
well-established painter and her mother died when she was just 12. So she grew up very much in a male
dominated household. And we know from a letter her father wrote
to Florence praising his daughter’s talents that she was already a sort of fully
fledged painter by the time she was 16. I see a woman who has done something
that her family didn’t expect. She has had a successful career in
doing it she’s financially independent and
she’s also brought up a family. What an incredible woman and what an
amazing strong message. I think it’s quite unbelievable
to have it here because it’s such an
important part of arts history. The motto for our school is
courage and confidence. And that painting does show
courage and confidence and it proves to people that women
can do what they want in life and they can’t get stopped. She’s a real inspiration for all girls. This is a school which very much puts
creativity at the heart of its curriculum. And we’re working with teachers and
students around the theme of identity which is portrayed in
the painting itself. I’ve asked you all today
to bring in an object that symbolises something
about your identity. What does this show about you? I’ve chosen a jazz shoe because
I love to dance and it makes me feel really free
and unique and determined. I chose a trophy because I find
myself as very competitive. You are now going to spend a little
bit of time sketching your object. I feel really privileged to be
hosting the painting in our school. I think art is a brilliant platform to express
yourself as whoever or whatever you wish to be and Artemisia’s painting
reinforces that perfectly. To me she kind of seems like a
modern day feminist and I quite like that
for an all girls school. I think it’s really empowering
because it sends like a message. She’s not going to let what other
people think of about her stop her because she went through a lot of
things and like she overcame those. It angers me because it
represents the fact that we still have so much farther to
go with women in art. Hello everybody. Great to see so
many of you here today. One of the things we wanted the students
at Sacred Heart to experience was the sheer range of careers open
to women within the arts. So we’ve brought a fantastic
selection of women who’ve all worked on the project here to the school today
to share their experiences with the girls and we hope really inspire them to see
the different types of career that could be available to
them in the arts. It’s been fantastic to see the way that the
students have reacted to the painting today. And one of the things that we hope that
they’ve been able to experience is not just the painting itself but also to think about the life of
the artist, the processes involved the creative spirit that’s gone into
this painting but also how that might reflect in
their own lives. It’s brought such a sense of
excitement into school. They can feel it, there’s a real
energy in the atmosphere around here. And that’s amazing. We don’t often get these things in Newcastle,
so to have that come up to a Newcastle school is just a tremendous opportunity. I think it inspires all the girls in the
school to just express who they are and like be who they want to be, no matter
what people think.

About James Carlton

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5 thoughts on “Artemisia visits a girls’ school | National Gallery


  2. Surely the art world affords better opportunity to focus on its other facets rather than serving up yet another expose on this particular painting.
    Come on guys; expand your horizons a little.
    Gentileschi was a wonderful, wonderful painter who deserves to be remembered for her extraordinary talents, but I think that it's time to shine the'spotlight' on other gifted individuals.
    Your presentations are fast becoming a little staid in variety i'm afraid!

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