Record $1.2 Million at Sotheby’s Paris for Recently Discovered Gentileschi

Artemisia Gentileschi, Mary Magdalene. Courtesy of Sotheby's.
Artemisia Gentileschi, Mary Magdalene. Courtesy of Sotheby's.

A painting by Artemisia Gentileschi achieved €865,000 ($1,179,832) at Sotheby’s in Paris, nearly three times its presale estimate of €200,000–300,000 ($272,000–$408,000), reports Art Daily. The price sets a new world record price for the 17th-century Baroque artist.

The work existence was until recently only documented in an old black and white photograph from the archives of an Italian dealer (see artnet News report). It’s believed the consignor’s family acquired the painting from that dealer at the beginning of the 20th century.

The masterpiece was rediscovered by Sotheby’s Paris Old Master department in southern France, where it had been hidden for over 80 years.

The canvas shows a scene of a discreetly religious nature, a very popular motif for its the time. Gentileschi produced the Caravaggesque work by depicting Mary Magdalene as an approachable human, relegating her sacred status as secondary.

As a female artist in an almost exclusively male dominated artistic field in 17th-century Italy, Gentileschi has been celebrated as one of art history’s exceptional figures. The daughter and apprentice of acclaimed artist Orazio Gentileschi, her work ethic and striking compositions earned her recognition and commissions throughout Italy and Europe. The notable rape case she won against artist Agostino Tassi was hailed as a major feminist victory.


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