Artemisia Gentileschi, Self portrait of the artist as Cleopatra
Artemisia Gentileschi (1593-1654)

Self portrait of the artist as Cleopatra on her deathbed, clasping a viper, c. 1620

Oil on canvas, H. 1.14 m; W. 0.75 m

Provenance: possibly Mr Barocelli, his sale, London, Edw. Foster auctioneer (Lugt 14056),
10th July 1835, lot 127, as 'Marinari, Head of a Saint' bought by John Peel
John Peel estate sale, London, Phillips auctioneers, 6th July 1858, lot 69, as 'Marinari, Cleopatra'
where bought by Richard Barnes of St Paul's Church Yard, London
Belgian private collection, by whom sold anonymously, Brussels, BA auctions, 17th June 2014, lot 162 as Dutch School
where bought by the present owner

Literature:

Artemisia Gentileschi e il suo tempo, exh. cat. Rome, Palazzo Braschi, 30th November 2016 – 7th May 2017, no. 36, entry written by Francesca Baldassari, p. 154-155.

A large proportion of Artemisia Gentileschi’s oeuvre is made up of paintings featuring empowered female protagonists. As in many other of her paintings, Artemisia used her own features here, a practice that eliminated the need to pay models. The painter’s originality lies in her ability to get under the skin of her female heroes and translate their emotions onto canvas in a captivating way. Artemisia’s Cleopatra is a real woman whose determination to take her own life is forcefully and dramatically portrayed.

Our painting was shown in the exhibition Artemisia Gentileschi e il suo tempo, Rome, Palazzo Braschi, 30th November 2016 – 7th May 2017, no. 36, p. 154-155, with a catalogue entry written by Francesca Baldassari.