March 23, 2016

Women Artists: Rape, Redemption and Music

The Emissary by Aleada Aine Siragusa 

 Oil on Stretched Linen Canvas 38” X 32”

Inspired in part by

When The Music’s Over; by The Doors

 What have they done to the earth?
What have they done to our fair sister?
Ravaged and plundered and ripped her and bit her
Stuck her with knives in the side of the dawn
And tied her with fences and dragged her down.

The Lightening Bolt is the Symbol of the Mating of Heaven and Earth

The is Mother Nature, she is the embodiment of all women.
She is to be loved, respected and revered.

The Emissary is a Symbolist Painting created in regards to worry and prediction of Global Warming and Earth Changes. Symbolism was a movement in the 19th century with a gothic philosophy dominated by predominantly Catholic artists embodying biblical and mythological themes in a new way.

This quote also influenced the painting:

 “Vox clamantis in deserto”  A Voice Crying in the Wilderness

Aaron prays over the Scapegoat to take the sins ot the people into the desert.
Also known as The Emissary Goat

Leviticus 16: 9-10   “Vox clamantis in deserto”
And Aaron (Levite priest) shall bring the goat upon which the 
LORD's lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering. But the goat, on 
which the lot fell to be the SCAPEGOAT, shall be presented alive 
before the LORD, to make atonement, and to let him go to cry for forgivness until he dies in the wilderness.

There will be people who will be left behind, too late;
 for their sins are too heavy.

This goat is also called the Emissary Goat or the Voice Crying in 

the Wilderness for he has taken on the sins of the people and now 

cries to the Lord for their forgiveness.

The Emissary Goat will die in the Desert

The Phoenix Rises from the ashes of destruction
 and brings Hope & Renewal 
The Women's Movement was strong in the 1970's and The
University of Akron brought in some influential women in the arts 
to meet and inspire us; especially the women students.

I remember telling some other students at this that I was taking 
taking a course called, “why there are no women artists in 
history”.  A young man, also a student, got real close in my face 
and yelled, "that’s because women are no good as artists!" Oh well,
 this wasn’t the first time I would encounter this reaction by a man 
threatened by a woman and it was not the last; stories for another 
time, please stay tuned. 

So study Women's Art History I did. Here  are the books we used: {Women Artists 1550 - 1950} by Ann Southerland and Linda Nochlin and {Women Artists  and  Recognition and Reappraisal From the Early Middle Ages to the Twentieth Century} by Karen Petersen and J.J. Wilson. 

 Artemisia Gentileschi Italian, 1593- 1653 

Artemisa Gentileschi's Self Portrait

What is amazing is this woman's strength that she became an artist at all considering the limits placed on what was known as the weaker sex.

 Gentileschi was blessed with the opportunity to learn art because her father who was a well know artist accepted her as a student, women at this time could not study in an art academy. Gentileschi's father hired another artist he had worked with to teach her perspective; Agostino Tassi.

Susanna and the Elders

  Unfortunatly Tassi raped Gentileschi. This man was disreputable and had been convicted of arranging the murder of his own wife; I guess her father did not know this before he let his young daughter of 17 years study with him. 

Judith Slaying Holofernes

After Tassi raped Artemisia Gentileschi her father took Tassi to court where he was found guilty and sentenced to 8 months in prison but he was later acquitted.

 During the trial Artieimsia  Gentileschi was subjected to torture with thumbscrews which was then a form of lie detection.

 After the trial her reputation was ruined and she was considered a sexually licentious woman, this often overshadowed her ability as an artist.

 Artismisa Gentileschi is according to Harris and Nochlin, "the first woman in the history of Western Art to make a significant and undeniably important contribution to the art of her time." 

Judith and her Maidservant

Artismisa Gentileschi painted mainly women from mythological and biblical stories and these subjects probably resonated with her as a woman. Also because she was a woman she would not be allowed to study the nude figure but she had access to her own body to study the female nude.

I mention Gentileschi's rape because one in 3 women is reported to have been raped so this is a serious issue and it undoutably affected Gentileschi's choices of subject matter. 

When I go out to paint en plein air I always go with either my husband or a buddy. I do not want to be a statistic. Rape is is a reality in many women's lives, perhaps we could say in all women's lives because of the specter of possibility.  

Artismisa Gentileschi's paintings have a theme of power and anger, perhaps because of the rape and trial ordeal she went through at an early age which changed her world and the way the world looked at her.

In Scottsdale Arizona in October 2015  I had the honor of attending A Symposium on Women and Art in the 21st century.

These Women's Groups are still important and valid to women artists everywhere. 


Above are some quick sketches I did while at the seminar using various pens and technique, some pens are water soluble so I used a water wash for some sketches. 

I Am Woman - Helen Reddy (with lyrics)

As an artist I suppose I am not unique in that I fell a kinship with others artists, especially musicians because their music influences my art so much.

 Azaima Anderson;
A sensitive righteous musician and song writer
with a big dash of humor
Performed at Yankie Creek Coffeehouse in Silver City NM

Guitar Player with Azaima Anderson 
Yankie Creek Coffeehouse in Silver City NM

Missy Andersen a Truly Great Blues Singer and Very Personable
Performed at Little Toad Creek Silver City NM

 A Patron A Little Toad Creek Brewery in Silver City NM

The above sketches were painted from life using Winsor and Newton Paynes Gray and 
Winsor and  Newton Designers Gouache White.

Patrons at Silver City NM Blues and Bike Festival
Watercolor Sketches from life

Patrons at Silver City NM Blues and Bike Festival
Watercolor Sketches from life

Patrons at Silver City NM Blues and Bike Festival
Watercolor Sketches from life

For more information on Artemisia Gentileschi visit wikipedia
 The Gentileschi paintings I published came from this site:

Peace and Love, this Easter Season as we in this hemisphere welcome back the sun and thanks for stopping by.

Aleada Aine Siragusa