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Artemisia Visits … Pocklington Group Practice

Issued April 2019

After a hugely successful first visit to Scotland, the National Gallery’s Artemisia Gentileschi self portrait is back on the road, this time visiting Pocklington Group Practice – a GP surgery in the East Yorkshire market town of Pocklington that lies between York and Hull.

The rare self portrait by the celebrated artist of the Italian BaroqueSelf Portrait as Saint Catherine of Alexandria (about 1615–17) – is on display from today (Monday 29 April 2019) until Saturday 11 May as part of a partnership with the charity, Paintings in Hospitals.

While Artemisia is visiting Pocklington Group Practice, there will be a number of opportunities for the general public to pop in and see her. A Community Viewing Evening is scheduled for Wednesday 1 May, 6–8pm, and a Community Viewing Day on Saturday 11 May, 1.30–6pm.

Throughout spring and summer 2019, Artemisia’s painting – acquired by the National Gallery, London in July 2018 – is undertaking a series of ‘visits’ to unusual and unexpected venues (not all of them galleries or museums) across the UK. The tour started at Glasgow Women’s Library (6–19 March) for International Women’s Day.

Future visits will include a girls’ school and also east London, where Artemisia will be a stop on the E17 Art Trail as part of its Waltham Forest London Borough of Culture 2019 celebrations.

Berni Judge, Managing Partner of Pocklington Group Practice says:

“We are extremely excited about being chosen to work with the National Gallery and Paintings in Hospitals and cannot wait for Artemisia to visit us here in Pocklington; we know our staff and patients are going to be thrilled to have her here. We want to be able to share Artemisia’s stay with as many of our local communities as possible, and so that is why we have created some ‘visiting times’ when anyone can come and see her. Another reason for these special events is that, alongside this exciting visit, we are a still a working GP surgery and therefore we need to be able to continue our day-to-day operations as smoothly as possible, so we ask people to please remember and respect that if they are planning to come and visit Artemisia.”

It is planned that 'Artemisia Visits … Pocklington Group Practice' is the first stage in a longer collaboration with Paintings in Hospitals. Amisha Karia, Paintings in Hospitals Head of Collection, Loans & Programming explains:

“We are delighted to be working in partnership with the National Gallery and Pocklington Group Practice to place such an important painting in a care environment. We believe art should be for everyone and we are committed to using art to support better health and wellbeing. Following Artemisia's visit, we will be working with patients and staff at the GP practice to co-select artworks from the Paintings in Hospitals collection to celebrate the many groundbreaking women artists represented. The chosen artworks will then go on display at the surgery for the next three years.”

Director of the National Gallery, Dr Gabriele Finaldi says,

“The National Gallery has never done a tour like this; taking a masterpiece to unexpected venues where it can be enjoyed by people who may not be able to see it in Trafalgar Square. The response in Glasgow was superb and we are looking forward to engaging with local communities in the next surprising venues, a GP surgery and a school."

Artemisia Gentileschi is considered one of the most accomplished painters among the followers of Caravaggio, whom she may have known personally through her father, Orazio. In an era when female artists were not easily accepted, she was the first woman to become a member of the Accademia del Disegno in Florence and had a truly international clientele, including royalty.

Artemisia faced challenges in both her professional and personal life: she was raped by a fellow painter and was subjected to gruelling questioning and physical torture during the trial that ensued. Her biography has long overshadowed her artistic achievements, but today she is recognised as one of the most talented painters of her generation.


Self Portrait as Saint Catherine of Alexandria shows a female figure turning towards the viewer. A halo is visible just above her head, indicating that she is a saint. Her left hand rests on the top of a broken spiked wheel; a symbol associated with Saint Catherine of Alexandria, a Christian saint martyred in the early 4th century AD. Sentenced to death by the Emperor Maxentius, Catherine was bound to revolving wheels studded with iron spikes and nails. She escaped this instrument of torture through heavenly intervention, but was later beheaded. Of the sixty or so paintings attributed to Artemisia, many feature a strong female hero as their main protagonist. Artemisia’s paintings have often been read as autobiographical and there can be little doubt that her personal identity is closely intertwined with her artistic production.

The £3.6 million acquisition of 'Self Portrait as Saint Catherine of Alexandria' was made possible thanks to the support of the American Friends of the National Gallery, the National Gallery Trust, Art Fund (through the legacy of Sir Denis Mahon), Lord and Lady Sassoon, Lady Getty, and Hannah Rothschild CBE, and other donors including those who wish to remain anonymous. The conservation of the painting has been made possible with Art Fund support. It was unveiled at the National Gallery in December 2018.

Paintings in Hospitals celebrates its 60th anniversary in 2019. Founded in 1959, the charity was a pioneer of the now flourishing arts-in-health sector and remains the only art collection dedicated to inspiring better health and wellbeing for patients and carers across the country. Paintings in Hospitals is partnered with 180 health and social care organisations in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, loaning its artworks and hosting art workshops to create care spaces that encourage, enrich and empower. The Paintings in Hospitals collection holds 4,000 artworks, including pieces by Bridget Riley, Maggi Hambling, Helen Chadwick, Gillian Ayres, Sonia Boyce, Elizabeth Blackadder, Mary Fedden and many more. Paintings in Hospitals has a long history of partnerships with national museums and collections, including the V&A, Arts Council Collection and the Wallace Collection. Paintings in Hospitals is a registered charity (1065963).

Pocklington Group Practice can be found at The Beckside Centre, 1 Amos Drive, Pocklington, YO42 2BS. More about it here -

The Klesch Collection is proud to sponsor 'Artemisia Visits' and support women artists

With additional support from:

Deborah Finkler and Allan Murray-Jones
Diane Apostolos-Cappadona Trust in honour of Stacia Apostolos

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Artemisia Gentileschi (1593–1654 or later)
'Self Portrait as Saint Catherine of Alexandria'
about 1615–17
Oil on canvas
71.5 x 71 cm
© The National Gallery, London


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