100 Days of Art History Jinjins



This one I did during the Brett Kavanaugh hearings in 2018, when he was being nominated to the Supreme Court and Dr. Christine Blasey Ford stepped forward to accuse him of rape. The #MeToo movement was strong and like many other people in the country, I was thinking about how rape and sexual assault are seen as facts of life and often dismissed. And I was angry.

This painting is by female renaissance artist Elisabetta Sirani. It shows Timoclea, an ancient Greek hero. When her city of Thebes was attacked, a captain of the opposing Thracian army raped her. Afterward, he asked if she knew where there was any hidden money. She told him it was down a well. When he bent to look into it, she took the opportunity to push him in and throw rocks at him until he died. It's a cathartic story of revenge, especially cathartic for me to draw while gnashing my teeth at Kavanaugh.

Elisabetta Sirani also interested me, as all women artists do. She was a Bolognese baroque painter in the 1600s, came from an artistic family and set up the first academy outside a convent for women painters. She died at the young age of 27, already having made her artistic mark on the world. She produced over 200 paintings in that time, which is incredibly impressive.

One small note--I made a minor edit to obscure the captain's face. I wanted to draw myself in the character of Timoclea, not her rapist. I think that was the right call.

Reference image is from Wikipedia.

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