Artemisia Gentileschi (1593 – c. 1656) was an Italian Baroque painter, today considered one of the most accomplished painters in the generation following that of Caravaggio [Wikipedia]. Using her own image frequently, Gentileschi was known for her depictions of strong and suffering women – victims, suicides, warriors. In ‘Self Portrait as a Lute Player’, Artemisia presents herself with the classical motif of a lute, symbolic of harmony and youth. Her mouth is very slightly up-turned in the corners, and she has a knowing look in her eyes.

Gentileschi’s head wrap, almost regal in its colour and knotted position, embodied her strength and eloquence. Robyn was captured by this image and became fixated on it. By drawing and redrawing her head wrap exploring line and shade, abstract shapes emerged.

Imprinted and layered gold-plated pieces echo the flecks of light and creases that shape Artemisia’s textile crown. The two parts of the brooch move with the wearer, instilling in them the confidence and knowing eye of Artemisia.

(2017)