Self-Portrait as the Allegory of Painting (1630s). Artemisia Gentileschi (Baroque, 1593-1652/53). Oil on canvas. Royal Collection.
The mode of the portrait is allegorical and accords with the description of the personification of ‘Painting’ given in the Iconologia of Cesare Ripa (1611), where mention is made of a female figure with dishevelled hair, wearing a gold chain with a medallion in the form of a mask, and brightly coloured drapery.
Gentileschi draws attention to her paradoxical status as a female artist. She shows that intellectual allusion alone does not in itself make a painter, but that it must be combined with application.