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Watchable but compromised period drama
Jasper-127 June 1999
My sources tell me that this biopic of the one of the few influential female artists of the time has sacrificed a lot of historical veracity in the name of dramatic license. The film focuses on the earlier part of her life, specifically the relationship with her tutor Tassi, ignoring her rise to prominence later which is revealed in a pre-credit titles coda at the end of the film. Given that Artemisia Gentileschi is hardly a household name, even in the art world, I for one was looking forward to at least some degree of enlightenment towards the subject. That Tassi murdered his wife and child and had an incestuous relationship with sister is ignored by the film, instead playing him as straightforward love interest of little other dimension. The featured painting of 'Judith and Holofernes' was also painted some eight years after the events portrayed. Some concessions to cinematic narrative structure are understandable, but to totally disregard key facts is unforgivable. As for Artemisia herself, there is little surviving information other than a basic outline of her life, but dramatically director Merlet doesn't seem to know which way to play this. Little insight is provided for her as a person, nor for her motivation as an artist, other than that as a martyr to the patriarchal order of the day archetype. As such, she is never truly convincing as the child prodigy artist. Instead her relevance is reduced to that of a cipher in a bog-standard romantic tragedy, and the overwhelming thought as one leaves the cinema is 'So what?' On a visual level, the film is colourful, if a little conservative, at its best when taking in the rigorous working methods and assorted paraphernalia of the artists practising at the time. Unfortunately this is the sum of the informative merit in what amounts to no more than another polished yet undistinguished costume drama with the odd dash of titillatory nudity. For all that, Artemisia herself (Valentina Cervi) is certainly a little cutie and the film is never a chore to watch, but at the end of the day it merely whetted my appetite for more knowledge on the subject.
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In the service of a greater falsehood
James Hitchcock21 May 2009
Artemisia Gentileschi was not, contrary to the impression given by this film, the first woman to earn her living as a professional painter, but she is perhaps the earliest female painter who is still well-known. (Earlier female painters such as Sofonisba Anguissola and Fede Galizia are less widely remembered today). The daughter of another famous painter, Orazio Gentileschi, she was born in 1593 and probably died at some time during the 1650s. (The exact date of her death is not known, but it is known that she was still alive and working in her early sixties). The film is not a full biography of Artemisia, but rather concentrates upon the events of her late teens, especially the trial of the painter Agostino Tassi, who was convicted of raping her.

The film has many good points. The lovely Valentina Cervi, who plays Artemisia, makes a ravishing heroine. Like another recent film about a great 17th century artist, "Girl with a Pearl Earring", it is visually beautiful and tries to capture the look of the paintings of the era. Artemisia, like many Italian painters of the early 1600s, was greatly influenced by the example of Caravaggio, especially his use of chiaroscuro, the contrast of light and dark, in order to heighten a picture's visual, dramatic and emotional impact. Some of the interior scenes in the film are clearly intended to imitate this style of painting, but director Agnes Merlet also seems to have been influenced by other artists and other artistic genres of the period, notably its still lives and landscapes. The scenes by the coast seem to have been modelled upon 17th century Dutch seascapes.

Like a number of other reviewers, however, I was disturbed by the way in which the film dealt with the facts of Artemisia's life. Now it is common for films about real historical events to take liberties with the truth, and the result is not automatically a bad or dishonest film. "Girl with a Pearl Earring", for example, which I consider to be one of the greatest films of the current decade, introduces an entirely fictitious episode into the life of a real historical figure, the painter Vermeer. It does so, however, in the service of a greater truth, in order to make some important points about artistic creativity, about social class and about friendship between men and women.

"Artemisia", by contrast, distorts the facts of its subject's life in the service of a greater falsehood. In real life Tassi was a despicable character who attempted to kill his wife, committed incest with his sister-in-law and raped a number of women; he was undoubtedly guilty of the rape of Artemisia. In the film, however, he and Artemisia are lovers, and the sex between them is purely consensual. Tassi is depicted as the victim of false accusations brought by Artemisia's father. Although Orazio loves Artemisia, and encourages her in her career, he is played by Michel Serrault as over-protective, unable to accept that his daughter could have lost her virginity voluntarily. In reality Orazio was in his late forties at the time of the events portrayed, but Serrault was nearly seventy when the film was made, a piece of casting doubtless intended to emphasise the generation gap between the passionate young woman and her puritanical old father. We also see Artemisia's famous painting of Judith decapitating Holofernes, which in reality was not painted until after Tassi's trial. Indeed, some commentators have seen this painting as representing her psychological revenge on Tassi, although it should be pointed out that this was a common subject in Italian painting at this period; both Caravaggio and Artemisia's older contemporary Galizia painted versions.

Why, I found myself wondering, did Merlet take so many liberties with history? I think that the answer was not, as some have assumed, because she simply wanted to make a soft porn film, but because she wanted to make Artemisia, who seems obsessed with drawing pictures of male genitalia, into a sexually liberated feminist heroine. The problem is that the concept of "sexual liberation" is a late twentieth century one and that it is an anachronism to introduce it into a film set in the early seventeenth century, a period when there were no reliable methods of contraception and when ideas about female honour and chastity were very different to those of today. In other respects, especially in her willingness to challenge the idea that art was an exclusively male calling, Artemisia Gentileschi can be seen as a proto-feminist, but this does not mean that it is right to see her as a woman of the 1990s transported back in time. Moreover, what sort of feminism is it which portrays as a tender lover a man who in reality was a brutal rapist? 6/10
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Good film but historically inaccurate
ininotores2 June 2005
I'm normally a sucker for romantic films which are well-filmed and well-acted out. This is a romantic (period) film set in 17th-century Italy, but filmed in French with English subtitles. The fact that it is a period film means it will inevitably be slower-paced than films set in the modern day era, so it Will bore some. If you can overlook that fact, it is actually a really good film. The scenery, the costumes, and the cinematography are beautiful, and the main actors and actress are very compelling in their portrayals, projecting the intensity of the emotions that are running through the plot. The story is like a sad love story with an unhappy ending. Its easy to believe that this is an accurate portrayal of the real-life characters. In spite of the fact that I was really moved by the main characters and the storyline, I decided to check out the validity of the story and found out that the main theme of the movie's story - that of an sad unfinished love story - was completely fabricated.

In real life, Artemisia was raped by Tassi initially, rather than submitting to his advances willingly and passionately as the movie had portrayed. She continued to have sexual relations with him only because he had repeatedly promised to marry her. When they were in court, he had *not* admitted guilt of rape out of pity for Artemisia's torture (unlike what the movie portrays). In reality, he had tried to portray Artemisia as a loose, promiscuous woman with insatiable sexual urges. In the movie, his sister testified in court that Tassi had a wife and had sexual relations with his sister-in-law, and Tassi's character was all the while made to appear as if his sister had been slandering him regarding his alleged affair with his sister-in-law (although he admits to having had a wife back in Florence). Needless to say, in reality it wasn't really like that at all. In fact, far from it. Tassi was really responsible in the planned murder of his wife, whom he had begotten from rape. And to add to that, Tassi really had sexual relations with his sister-in-law, impregnating her in the process, but all this wasn't really mutual as well - again, he had raped his sister-in-law before.

So now we have a clear picture of the real Tassi as a multiple sex offender, what do we make of the film Artemisia's portrayal of him as a lover? We take it as an attempt to make this movie into a romantic film... that this film was never made to be historically accurate... Apart from these points just mentioned, there were other historical inaccuracies like in its interpretation of Artemisia's art (in real-life, she was never really influenced by Tassi's painting style, and she was actually considered a much better painter than Tassi ever was.) One thing remains true and its the fact that Artemisia Gentileschi has been credited as the first woman painter in history, and although her mastery of the art rivalled many of her male peers, she had always experienced difficulty in getting enough credit for her work because of her gender as a woman, in 17th century Italy.

Enjoy this film for its own sake, for it is a pretty good romantic drama, but take its historical references with a grain of salt.
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Artemisia Gentileschi's story reduced to soft porn
tahlia28 January 2000
As others have noted, this movie is criminally inaccurate in its portrayal of the artist's life and I for one was very annoyed and offended... by its transformation of her rape into a tragic love affair, by the implication that her rapist was responsible for 'awakening her talent,' by its complete disregard for her work, by the way it turned her into a sex object, on and on, you get the idea. Also, I find it disturbing that people who aren't familiar with Gentileschi will see this film and walk away with that kind of impression of her.
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A woman ahead of her times
jotix10027 August 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Artemisia Gentileschi, the daughter of Orazio Gentileschi, showed an early promise as a painter. Taught by her father, Artemisia was born in an era that denied talented women the right to have their work seen side by side art created by men. Her tragic life is chronicled in this biographic film directed and co-written by Agnes Merlet.

Having read the novel "The Passion of Artemisia" by Susan Vreeland, made us investigate more into the life of this woman, her work, and her legacy. We also read Mary Garrard's "Artemisia Gentileschi", which should be a must read book by all art lovers.

"Artemisia" presents the fictionalized facts we have read about showing the early life of the young woman as she starts to paint. She was clearly influenced by the work of her father, by Caravaggio, Agostino Tassi, and other Florentine painters of that period. Her relationship and love affair with Tassi is the basis of the film. Artemisia, unfortunately couldn't go as far as she could have because of the prejudice against women in the arts. It didn't help either she caused a scandal where she is accused of being raped by Tassi. She had to go to Rome in order to distance herself from that unhappy time of her life.

Valentina Cervi makes a beautiful Artemisia. She is a gorgeous creature who awakened passion in men. Michel Serrault plays Orazio, her father. Miki Maojlovic is seen as Tassi, the man who wanted Artemisia, but ended up in jail. Emmanuelle Devos appears for a moment.

The film has a glossy finish that the camera work of Benoit Delhomme captures in all its splendor. The scenic locales of the film offer an idea of what inspired that school of painting to show in their canvases. The music by Krishna Levy serves well what we see. Agnes Merlet directed with sure hand showing a visual style of her own.
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indigo_skies27 February 2000
Artimisia was on late last night. At first I didn't think I would like it, but seeing I didn't feel like sleeping yet and nothing else being on, I continued watching and felt myself intrigued by the young Artimisia, a virgin, pure and passionate. Her romance with the older Tassi envoked recognisable feelings. Even though the film is based on a very romantisised level and not reality, I loved it a lot more than the usual biographys or costume drama's. Great play, great camerashots, great music and texts. I loved it and I want more of it! :-)
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The movie that was not
grendel-2830 May 1999
The movie looked like a walk-through for "Immoral Study". Most likely I never got much involved with the burning need of the female artist to immortalize male nudes and thus all that fuss about "Now, who drew this penis?!" sounded a bit gratuitous. Dialogues in this movie are rather dreadful, albeit visually this movie got its moments. I almost dig it when Tassi got into painting a mental picture but then movie weered back onto penises. Highly recommended to those who has not seen one in a while.
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Stunning work of Art
kdp-218 April 2000
A romantic drama about the 17th century italian artist Artemisia Gentileschi, the first woman in western art to be recognised officially by the guilds as a painter and the central figure in a notorious rape trial. By far the most striking element of this film is the smorgasbord of sensual imagery. From the rustic, artistic sets to the rich costumes to the extremely textural shots of skin this one just screams "Touch Me". The camera work is spot on and draws the viewer into the mise en scene completely unawares of what is happening to him or her. Very seductive.

The message of the film is quite simply that art conquers all. Love certainly doesn't and lust is portrayed in an at times farcical manner. In particular the artists orgy scene viewed with delirious humour through the window by our herioine (Artemisia) and the troubling sex scene with her teacher both reinforce the pain, literally, and the bestiality of the sex act.

It's not surprising that her mature work dealt with violent acts of revenge and holy sacrifice in light of what she went through

The shots of skin, sea, sand, canvas and paint dominate this film as the director attempts to create a living canvas on the screen. For the most part this is what is achieved.

The dialogue and plot are almost arbitrary to the dominance of the images, and as such this is an almost edible and tactile piece of work.
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Injustice to Artemisia again!
Obelix056 January 2006
Warning: Spoilers
What did the director think? Everybody who has read the biography of Artemisia is left impressed by her guts to face a public rape trial in Renaissance times and even suffer torture in order to show that Tassi was guilty. That fact shows the real independence and emancipation - in her most terrible hour she stands her MAN. Why do movies depicting Renaissance have to be so clinically beautiful and romantic, are we afraid to see the gritty side of life or has the Hollywood happy-happy-mood won? While I would always defend a director's freedom to create his own reality in a movie I cannot make sense of turning Artimisia's life story on its head. Very disappointing choice by the makers of this film.
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Biography of a master painter turned into painfully inaccurate bodice ripper.
roksaburo13 May 2006
Warning: Spoilers
If you're after the real story of early Baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi, you'll be disappointed- however if you're after a reasonably crafted bodice ripper with an art theme, you've found you're movie.

This film is such a foundationally inaccurate depiction of Artemisia Gentileschi's life that it almost made me weep. (Type in Artemisia inaccuracies in Google and check out some of the fact vs. fiction articles.) From a purely technical point of view though, the film was alright: the sets, costumes, and especially the chiaroscuro lighting helped create an immersive early 17th century experience; although the above mentioned GLARING FACTUAL INACCURACIES let it down a bit.

I wonder how the director/co-writer Agnès Merlet defended her film at the time? Perhaps she refused to portray Artemisia as a victim, which would've been unfortunate, because lets face it, she was.
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Easy to find a flaw
coolbluegreen9 July 2002
Another review of this movie stated that it is difficult to find a flaw in it. Perhaps that is true. It IS a very enjoyable movie. However, the events of the movie are not the events of Artemisia Gentileschi's life. This film portrays Tassi as an inspiration to Artemisia, and it portrays their sexual relationship as consensual. History proves differently. Artemisia Gentileschi was a far superior painter to Tassi. They also painted very different things. The depiction of the sexual relationships even more troubling. Artemisia maintained under brutal torture that Tassi raped her. Much of her greatest work addressed the themes of rape, and sex, and power. It makes me sad that this great artist had to struggle so hard in her life, struggle to be believed and taken seriously. It makes me even more sad that a film about her life would tell the story her attacker would like us to believe. It is as if the woman has been raped twice.
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A beautiful and highly sexual focus on the artist's coming to be an artist in Rome, 1610s...
secondtake26 July 2011
Artemisia (1997)

What works: great sets and scenes, very convincing recreation of the times, from the domestic to the holy, from the artist's studio to a bordello. The leading actress, Valentine Cervi, is strong and resourceful and pulls of an excellent Artemisia Gentileschi, the woman artist active in the early 1600s. Her teacher and rapist is Agostino Tassi, played with zest in a way that sparks the movie to life. The rest of the cast is good, even excellent, but they are in supporting roles or remain a bit functional (as with Artemisia's father).

What fails: two things. One is the famous problem that the rape of the main character is turned into something of a feisty love affair, changing a key part of the abusive history the artist lived and fought through. It wasn't necessary. This isn't a love story. The other drawback is we never quite see her art--one painting, a famous one (Judith Slaying Holofernes), isn't enough to show she had exceptional talent both technically and imaginatively. It's true, she was a Caravaggio or a Rembrandt (her contemporaries) but her work continues to rise in the view of art historians. It would give some foundation to the movie, better foundation than some oversimplified and even inaccurate statements tacked on the end in plain text.

What is curious: this is a highly sexualized account, to the point of being bizarre. There's no sense this defines Artemesia historically, and though sex probably existed back then, it is pushed to the foreground here as a preoccupation of the filmmakers more than the subject. I didn't mind, but I find it a bit of a bore. There are lovers on the beach quite explicitly seen, the famous rape scene a little less graphic, some peering into a whorehouse with lots of details, and so on. Nudity, too, is part of the reality, and is brought up front here. That might be a plus or minus for many of you, but it didn't contribute to the movie, as a film, for me.

What the movie does best is establish the world of 1610 Rome and environs, and to lay out the basics of Artemisia's situation before her famous move to Florence and her rise into contemporary appreciation (the movie ends with her leaving her family in Rome). It's all guesswork as to the artist's temperament, and Cervi is creditable. The idea of a headstrong young woman willing to take chances, curious about everything, is almost necessary to be able to buck the system. And that male dominated system is evident in the workings of the studios, the home, and eventually the torturous trial.

I'm an art historian of sorts (my specialty is photography), and I watch all biographies of artists on film with skepticism. And so it's no surprise this left me slightly flat--I expected more. In a way, if a film is only about the aura of the artist and her or his world, it might be better to just create a fantasia about it. This gives the appearance of being historical, and as such it is a bit disappointing. Oddly, it's a French movie about an Italian artist, and I saw it with English subtitles.
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Abysmal soft-core drivel.
rhombus29 April 2000
I didn't think the French could make a bad movie, but I was, clearly, very wrong. As has been said before, this film essentially uses its title character as a point of departure; its portrayal of her life and person have little or nothing to do with the real Artemisia Gentileschi.

The script is awful -- pretentious, stilted, and vapid -- and its rewriting of the facts is unusually offensive even in a genre that all too often makes its living by distorting, rather than retelling, history. Along with some fairly decent set design, Valentina Cervi's physical charms are the primary asset of this movie, and it's obvious from the beginning that the filmmakers were aware of this too; they waste no time in contriving various "erotic" sequences which have far more to do with titillation than with plot or character development. Unfortunately, the appeal of seeing a pretty young girl in a state of feigned sexual arousal cannot, and does not, sustain this movie. The acting is unremarkable, and the score is all too generic despite an interesting chord or two. The cinematography is OK, and there are some pretty colors, but there are also some pretty ridiculous sequences using distorted-lens effects more appropriate for a 1960s freakout movie than a costume drama. In any event, the script leaves the camera dwelling all too often on Artemisia's body, and all too seldom on her paintings.

All told, a near-complete failure. It's not intelligent or tasteful enough to be a serious film, and it's too slow and pretentious to work as soft-core pornography. So the French can fail, after all!
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It's like a classical painting come to life!
raymond-1517 December 2001
This is a film about 17th Century Italian artists and one artist in particular, a woman Artemisia, an unheard of profession for females at that time, and she dared to paint the male nude detailing his unique musculature.

The camera work is principally indoors for that is where the artists mainly worked. There are some great shots. Close-ups by candle light suggest the beautiful work of the classical painters and it is fascinating to watch the painters and their students supported by elaborate scaffolding brushing in details of religious frescoes. It is not surprising that the artistic elements of the film (costumes,faces, make-up) are quite superbly authentic because the Italian churches have preserved all these details in their frescoes for centuries. The beautiful Artemisia is urged by her father to study under the great Florentine artist, Tassi, who has become expert in the art of perspective and landscape painting (something very new) but the unsuspecting Artemisia is introduced to more than new techniques in painting. After posing for her, Tassi violently rapes her. Her father is outraged. Court proceedings follow.

This romantic drama has a fairly simple story with an unsatisfactory ending. The outstanding feature of the film is its artistic presentation and attention to detail. Scenes such as women running across a field with the wind billowing their voluminous clothing add wonderful effects.

Artemisia says she paints to please herself; her father paints to please others. As for this film, it will please most, I think.
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"Artemisia" a bit misleading
alexischadwick25 March 2006
The tag line to this movie reads: "the true untold story of..." I stopped listening because already that statement is outrageous.

This movie stays true to the life of Artemisia Gentileschi in that both the actress and the artist are women. Apart from that, the movie exists only in the wonderful world of fiction. To say that this is a bio-pic is a bit of an exaggeration... no, A LOT of an exaggeration. Do a little research on the life of this important 17th Century artist before seeing the movie, or after seeing the movie for that matter. Either one. But as a viewer, please don't defame or romanticise the life of this artist.
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Sadly, this is historical piffle about great women artist
LilyDaleLady23 July 2005
It figures this is a French film, LOL, with the emphasis on young girls with much older men...why is it the French are so fixated on this kind of thing? When the age difference is this great, it really comes off as pervy! Valentina Cervi is beautiful (she bears a strong resemblance to Olivia Hussey, of Zeffirelli's '68 Romeo and Juliet, set in a similar period), but she looks about 15 and the actor playing Tassi, her painting instructor, looks...well, 50 is KIND.

Other posters have done the work of explaining the historical record (unusually detailed in this case) of the real Artemisia, a great artist and one of the earliest recognized female painters of this period (17th century). Her story speaks to us in modern times particularly because of the age-old accusation that "all great artists were men" -- she pretty much blasts that assertion to bits -- and because the story of her rape trial is so poignant. Not only was she clearly assaulted, and forced into a degrading sexual relationship (because in those days marriage to your assaulter was the only way to avoid social shame), but Tassi was a serial rapist and possibly killed his wife and child.

The movie does a terrible disservice by inverting this truly fascinating and remarkable real life story -- very dramatic and not in need of any "spicing up" -- because in some weird Frencified way, it's "hotter" to have an oversexed teenager drawing male sexual organs and having a hot love affair with a man old enough to be her grandfather. That's "sexy" -- the truth is boring and seems too feminist/politically correct.

It also disturbs me that this is ONLY part of Artemisia life considered interesting enough to film. The fact that she painted for decades (her famous painting of Judith beheading Holfernes was painted AFTER, not before the rape), that she was the first woman admitted to the prestigious Florentine Academy, that she went on to have children...oh that's boring stuff. After all, that's about a middle aged woman and they aren't "hot" like teenagers.

I understand that there is a lot of creative license in making a film (or a book) about a real historical character. You need to create dialog, have subplots, create dramatic structure. Certainly some details can be sacrificed -- it's no big deal if the dates are moved a few years, or if Artemisia is played by a blonde actress (when we know from her self portraits that she was a brunette...and a big boned one, not a skinny minny), or something like that. But to turn her story around on her, and make rape into a romance is actually sick and disturbing. It's even worse because the director is female. She should be horribly ashamed of herself!

If you LIKE this (and I know some people could care less about the real woman artist and just like period costumes and hot sex), you will probably like "Dangerous Beauty" with Rufus Sewell and Catherine McCormack. Similarly based on heavily re-written history, with lots of heaving bosoms and jewel encrusted goblets: Bon Appetit!
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Jon Hume?!?!
sair1118 July 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Ohhhh Fulvio. If you're into the band- EVERMORE, then you MUST watch this as there's this guy called FULVIO who looks exactly like Jon Hume. AND he gets naked. The only thing wrong with this film is that Artemisia chooses to be with a much older, hairier disgusting man and Fulvio is never to be seen again. First 1/2 of film is worth watching...... for Fulvio's sake. As the film went on, I grew more and more angry. I mean, how DARE Artemisia not choose Fulvio. Here's a Jon Hume look-a-like -NAKED- and dying to be with her, and yet she thinks that she's in love with a hairy-nippled 60yr old who, might I add, is married and constantly visits the brothel. Fulvio deserves more than that.
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How can you people even watch this movie?
heartbandit0111 December 2001
I was disgusted by this movie. No it wasn't because of the graphic sex scenes, it was because it ruined the image of Artemisia Gentileschi. This movie does not hold much truth about her and her art. It shows one piece of art work that she did (Judith Beheading Holofernese) but shows that being entered as testimony in the rape trial when she did not paint her first Judith for a year after the trial.

I don't know if you understood this from the movie, probably not, Tassi was not a noble character. He RAPED Artemisia. It was not love, it was rape. He did not claim to accept false charges of rape to stop her from suffering while she was tortured. According to the rape transcripts he continued to claim that he never carnally knew Artemisia (aka had sex with) while she states over and over again "It's true".

I encourage all of you people to go out and find about the real Artemisia and see what she is really about. Don't base all of your knowledge on this fictional movie. I encourage you to do some research, Artemisia really does have interesting story behind her and some amazing art work.

Don't see the movie, but find out the true story of Artemisia.
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itsonlywill21 April 2008
An awful film! It must have been up against some real stinkers to be nominated for the Golden Globe. They've taken the story of the first famous female Renaissance painter and mangled it beyond recognition. My complaint is not that they've taken liberties with the facts; if the story were good, that would perfectly fine. But it's simply bizarre -- by all accounts the true story of this artist would have made for a far better film, so why did they come up with this dishwater-dull script? I suppose there weren't enough naked people in the factual version. It's hurriedly capped off in the end with a summary of the artist's life -- we could have saved ourselves a couple of hours if they'd favored the rest of the film with same brevity.
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An insult to the truth.
e_mclachlan5 November 1999
This flick was a blow to me. I guess little girls should aspire to be nothing more than swimsuit models, home makers or mistresses, since that seems to be all they'll ever be portrayed as anyway. It is truly saddening to see an artist's work and life being so unjustly misinterpretated. Inconcievably (or perhaps it should have been expected), Artemisia's entire character and all that she stands for, had been reduced to a standard Hollywood, female character; a pitiful, physically flawless, helpless little creature, displaying none of the character traits that actually got her that place in history which was being mutilated here. Sadder yet, was to see that a great part of the audience was too badly educated in the area to comprehend the incredible gap between the message conveyed in the film, and reality. To portray the artist as someone in love with her real-life rapist, someone whom she in reality accused of raping her even when under torture, just plain pisses me off. If the director had nothing more substantial to say she should have refrained from basing her story on a real person.
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A Review
scpearse12 September 2001
I have seen the film and was very disappointed in the amount of historical inaccuracies of it. Although the cinematography and actors were impressive, events that occurred in Artemisia's life were completely distorted. Besides her age, which may seem trivial, the events surrounding her relationship with Tassi and the rape charges was not fully investigated. Records of the 7-month trial are available and should have been conferred with for the film! Technical advisors (such as historians and art historians) should have been sought out for consultation on the films accuracy's and inaccuracies! To tell the story of probably the first European acclaimed female artist in the Early Modern Period should have been taken more seriously! It is sad that to tell an significant part of history seems less important than the gross income and popularity it will achieve today.
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Not at all factual, an offense to a remarkable human being and artist
kathleensmiles12323 April 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Personally, the historical inaccuracies presented as fact in this movie both incense and horrify me. Beyond the idea of Tassi as Artemisia's lover- which I'll return to- male anatomy was not an obsession with her and she never hired male models. Strong female protagonists were the center of this talented artists amazing work- work that was well beyond both Tassi and Orazios levels of skill. She also never painted landscapes- landscapes and backgrounds in her work were painted by other hired artists, as was common back then.

Also, Tassi was a vile sex offender who raped his sister, obtained his wife through rape, had his wife and child murdered and raped at least four other women (and these are just cases of women who were virgins at the time and thus could file a complaint in that era).

Artemisia never wavered during torture about the fact that she was raped by Tassi and endured horrible lies about her sex life bandied about by Tassi and his cohorts.

The fact that she was able to produce some exquisite artwork despite what she'd endured and social stigma is incredible and the idea of Tassi starting her "artistic awakening" is a punch in the face of that.

She was an amazing woman in her own right and turning her rapist into her artistic inspiration- and presenting it as truth worst of all- is an offense to her and her accomplishments.

This "film" reduces her to a cute little sex kitten and raises her rapist to her lover and savior.

It's honestly just shameful and disgusting for those who know the facts to see this incredible persons life re-written- and badly so at that.
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Historical and Biographical deliberate Falsification!!!
ursulahemard20 December 2011
Grrrrr.....SHAME to the the director and producer...this is where censors ought to step up and copyrights put into force (using the names, etc.) !! A deliberate total falsification of the historical events, the movie is a pornographic fantasy of the director. Turning a violent rape of a young girl into a soft-core sex-affair is just a criminal offense, and an insult to the artist...I feel total resentment GGGrrrrrrr.......BAD BAD BAD!!!

Historically and Biographically this movie has absolutely nothing to do with the great Artemisia Gentileschi (July 8, 1593–1652), the Italian Early Baroque painter, today considered one of the most accomplished female painters in the generation influenced by Caravaggio.

DON'T WATCH IT!!!! ... and definitely not for the young!
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Kirpianuscus9 February 2016
a beautiful film. not impressive for historical accuracy but seductive for the love story, for the reconstruction of period, for moralistic message and for costumes. the only problem - it is not different by many other historical movies. sure, the triumph of the first woman painter is useful always but the tone of movie is far to be the most inspired for transform that theme in a memorable one. it is only another sentimental sketch about a character, nice, soft, with grain of drama and noble emotions. Artemisia has the status as piece of fight men - women war for equal rights , with a small note of feminism, with a dose of eroticism who makes the film one of windows to the modern art and point of start for discover a fascinating artist.
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An unpleasant movie with beautiful bodies and great scenery.
enoughtoil12 March 2005
Warning: Spoilers
The acting is good, the women are beautiful, and the men are handsome, so if you're looking for well-acted soft porn, this movie is for you. Otherwise, you are wasting your time. The motivation of the main characters, in particular the eponymous lead, is often a mystery. She could have just told the truth - the truth as presented in the film, not necessarily the historical truth - and her lover would have been spared time in jail for a rape he did not commit. Was she protecting her father, who went off half-cocked, as it were, when he impetuously instigated a malicious lawsuit? Was she protecting herself, with her reputation suddenly of concern when heretofore only her art seemed to matter? During the trial, this strong-willed woman turns to mush before our eyes. Conversely, her lover, who starts off as a narcissistic jerk, becomes a selfless hero during the trial. At least his motivation is clearer: he sacrifices himself for love. Naturally, since no good deed must go unpunished, we are told that she never sees him again.
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