A Moment in Art history: Self-Portrait as the Allegory of Painting by Artemisia Gentileschi – what do self-portraits reveal about artists?

Many famous artists have painted self-portraits, but today we’ll talk about a self-portrait by Baroque artist Artemisia Gentileschi that employs powerful symbolism to give the viewer deep insights into the way the artist viewed herself.

Artwork in the background:

Landscapes by John Horejs https://pinetop.xanadugallery.com/collections/john-horejs

Barn by Richard Harrington https://pinetop.xanadugallery.com/collections/richard-c-harrington

Edge of landscape 😁 by Shalece Fiack https://pinetop.xanadugallery.com/collections/shalece-fiack


Parts of the video script were sourced from Wikipedia: 




About the Author: Jason Horejs

Jason Horejs is the Owner of Xanadu Gallery, author of best selling books "Starving" to Successful & How to Sell Art , publisher of reddotblog.com, and founder of the Art Business Academy. Jason has helped thousands of artists prepare themselves to more effectively market their work, build relationships with galleries and collectors, and turn their artistic passion into a viable business.


  1. Love this work. Love this artist. Did not know the history of it and am happy to know it now. I have painted two self portraits and one one is barely good, the other tells a good story but is not great. Maybe someday I will get both aspects together.

  2. I love this painting, but how did she do it?! Did she pose a model? Use multiple mirrors? It’s such a difficult pose I can’t imagine getting into position , the same position over and over, managing to arrange the mirrors just right and then painting it! Blows me away. Masterful.

  3. I have studied Artemisia when I prepared a presentation about women artists. When I was in college there was no mention of her in the art history textbooks. In fact, there were no women artists mentioned at all. Artemisia and many of the other female artists in Europe are often unknown due to their work being in collections that have never been sold and so never valued, or often seen at all.

  4. Thank you for sharing this moment in art history. What an accomplished artist Artemisia was having to overcome the “traditional attitude and psychological submission to brainwashing and jealousy of her obvious talent.” The only weapons at her disposal was to use the weapon of personality and her artistic qualities against the prejudices of women painters. This is evident in her self portrait as a professional artist. Personally I was thinking of doing a self portrait. As a wildlife artist I doubt I would portray myself in a silk dress, hair combed as a professional artist painting in my studio.

  5. Artemisia was to art as Hypatia was to mathematics and astronomy, both suffering at the hands of lesser individuals. My artwork focuses on animals and plant life, not the human form so it is unlikely that I will ever draw a self portrait, however, were I to do so it would be combined with my favorite subject matter, animals and trees.

  6. Thank you, I really enjoy these Moments in Art History and found her story very interesting. Yes, I’ve done a self-portrait. I am a pastel artist. I tore up a lot of old paintings and instead of throwing them up decided to created a portrait from the pieces—a sort of collage. I quite like it and plan to do it again (I tear up old paintings every year).

  7. Her beautiful painting includes but rises above social commentary. It’s the painting. Successful in every way. It reaches out and draws one in. Sort of a feeling w/o a name is installed in ones heart. The skill is fascinates. Her feeling, her cause, her intelligence is left lingering in ones thought and soul. It’s the painting. A master. A painter.

  8. Thank you for these educational moments. Love them.
    Artemisia is awesome. Most unusual composition. I need to learn more about her now.

    My own self portraits are rare. Usually done at moments of frustration or excess amounts of paint left on my palette. I like to think they capture momentary mood.
    Again. Thank you!

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