Artemisia Gentileschi’s Hand: Manual telegraphy, really?
Hande will be our guide for this article by Mary Garrard. Just a few words, a few questions to begin the dialogue…..Art history began as a discipline largely governed by connoisseurship and leading that charge was Morelli! He believed that an artist could change his or her style a great deal however, that artist would not alter his or her earlobes, or the way hands were drawn. This Morellian method engendered a great deal of scrutiny of paintings for earlobe consistency and hands that did not break the mold, as it were. Many art historians still rely on connoisseurship but have added other methodologies to temper this approach to an artist’s style. I am eager to hear your thoughts about this article, not only because of the feminist underpinnings of her thesis, but also because of the visual tactics she employs.
1. What was the exception to the beautiful woman = beautiful hands formula in paintings by male artists?
2. How does the author explain the eroticized nature of the Lute Player newly attributed to Artemisia?
3. Do you see any possible dangers to a strict adherence to the Morellian method for artistic attributions?
4. What is Artemisia’s approach to rendering hands in her paintings of women according to the author?
5. Do you agree with Garrard’s interpretation of the LeMans Allegory of Painting?
6. Do you feel that the “homey realism” of Artemisia’s Cleopatra subverts the eroticism of the work?
7. What did hands connote during the Renaissance?
8. How did the contemporary reception of Artemisia and Sirani differ? Has history treated Sirani differently?
9. Do you believe that we can speak confidently about the feminist sensibilities that underlie Artemisia’s work?