Self-Portrait as the Allegory of Painting by Artemisia Gentileschi
Who is this woman in the green effervescent
gown with the plunging neckline so fashionable
in the baroque period, who paints herself
and women from mythology and the Bible.
She leans at an angle as if off-balanced
like “dancing backwards in high heels.”
At a time when women were not allowed to be
artists, her portrait looks to be a Caravaggio
or so the critics claim (for she is compared
to the prominent men artists of the times).
Her story goes, she was raped at a young age by
her teacher and to ensure the truth of her testimony
put in thumbscrews, tortured to obtain the truth
(and we all know how that worked with detainees).
She was never quite the same afterwards:
her work, full of women in the act of revenge
her name, not one well-recognized.