Skip to main content
Past exhibition


3 October 2020 – 24 January 2021

Location: Sainsbury Wing

"I will show Your Illustrious Lordship what a woman can do"

In 17th-century Europe, at a time when women artists were not easily accepted, Artemisia was exceptional. She challenged conventions and defied expectations to become a successful artist and one of the greatest storytellers of her time.

Artemisia painted subjects that were traditionally the preserve of male artists and for the male gaze; transforming meek maidservants into courageous conspirators and victims into survivors.

In this first major exhibition of Artemisia’s work in the UK, see her best-known paintings including two versions of her iconic and viscerally violent ‘Judith beheading Holofernes’; as well as her self portraits, heroines from history and the Bible, and recently discovered personal letters, seen in the UK for the first time.

Follow in Artemisia’s footsteps from Rome to Florence, Venice, Naples and London. Hear her voice from her letters, and see the world through her eyes.

Image above: Detail from Artemisia Gentileschi, 'Self Portrait as a Lute Player', about 1615-18. Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT Charles H. Schwartz Endowment Fund 2014.4.1 ©️ Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art

Exhibition supported by

The Thompson Family Charitable Trust 


With additional support from:

J Paul Getty Jr Charitable Trust

Katrin Henkel

Deborah Finkler and Allan Murray-Jones

Dr Nicola Coldstream


This is a YouTube video player. Below the video are the title, view time and description. Below that is a carousel of video thumbnails. Clicking a thumbnail will load and play that video.

★★★★★ 'Likely, the show of the season'
The Telegraph

★★★★★ ‘Powerful and personal art makes for a gripping visit’
The Times

★★★★★ ‘Revolutionary’
The Guardian

The Evening Standard

Find out more

Artemisia in her own words

Artemisia in her own words

Self-assured and determined, passionate and sometimes vulnerable, Artemisia’s voice is brought to life through her words and personal letters
Artemisia's rape trial

Artemisia's rape trial

At 17, Artemisia was raped by the painter Agostino Tassi. Learn about the trial that followed and hear Artemisia's voice from the original court transcript
Judith beheading Holofernes

Judith beheading Holofernes

Visceral, violent, and in a class of its own – discover Artemisia's iconic 'Judith beheading Holofernes'
Artemisia in London

Artemisia in London

Artemisia travelled to London by royal invitation of King Charles I. Learn about her time in the city and how it produced one of her most intriguing self portraits
Artemisia in ballpoint pen

Artemisia in ballpoint pen

Gina Siciliano and Letizia Treves in conversation

Artist Gina Siciliano discusses her graphic novel 'I Know What I Am: The Life and Times of Artemisia Gentileschi' with curator of the Gallery’s 'Artemisia' exhibition, Letizia Treves
Five heroines by Artemisia

Five heroines by Artemisia

Artemisia was famed for painting women of strength, passion and vulnerability: meet Susannah, Judith, Cleopatra, Lucretia and Esther
Artemisia Gentileschi

Artemisia Gentileschi

Artemisia Gentileschi's turbulent life story often overshadows her art, but she was the most celebrated female artist of the 17th century
New Artemisia loans announced

New Artemisia loans announced

Exhibition curator Letizia Treves and Tracy Jones, Head of Press, reveal the major loans coming to 'Artemisia'
Explore Artemisia's life and works on Google Arts & Culture


Joint Member

Unlimited exhibition entry for two named individuals living at the same address.

Save £10 when you purchase an annual recurring Membership by Direct Debit.