Art history

Grand exception

Locker, A&S '08 (PhD), a Portland State University assistant professor of art history, calls Italian painter Artemisia Gentileschi art history's "grand exception": the 17th century's rare successful woman. Her story is popularly understood through the challenges she faced—a woman in a man's profession, her rape by a teacher when she was young, the illiteracy she alludes to in the rape trial transcripts. In Artemisia Gentileschi: The Language of Painting (Yale University Press, 2015), Locker, using more recent literary scholarship, focuses on Gentileschi's later life in Naples to argue that she eventually earned a better education and is a much more thoughtful artist in dialogue with her contemporaries, less a product of her biography than a fully engaged mind. It's a compelling argument for re-examining her later works.