Artemisia Gentilesch (July 8, 1593 – c. 1656) was an Italian Baroque painter, today considered one of the most accomplished painters in the generation following that of Caravaggio. In an era when women painters were not easily accepted by the artistic community or patrons, she was the first woman to become a member of the Accademia di Arte del Disegno in Florence. (High end artist society)
She painted many pictures of strong and suffering women from myth and the Bible – victims, suicides, warriors.
The painting demonstrates rare feminist themes from a time when women seldom held jobs, let alone were well known for them. Gentileschi’s portrayal of herself as the master of the arts was a bold statement to make for the period. Though the painting is today overshadowed by many of Gentileschi’s other, more dramatic and raw scenes reflecting the artist’s troubling younger years, Self-Portrait was very controversial in its time.