Artemisia Gentileschi, born in 1598, the daughter of an esteemed painter, taught art in Naples and painted the great women of Roman and biblical history. She could neither read nor write, and she was the reviled victim in a public rape trial, rejected by her father, and later abandoned by her husband. Nevertheless, she was one of the first women in modern times to uphold through her work and deeds the right of women to pursue careers compatible with their talents and on an equal footing with men. This edition features a new introduction by the celebrated critic and writer Susan Sontag.
Anna Banti, the pen name of Lucia Lopresti, was born in Florence in 1895. Trained as an art historian, she turned to novels, stories, and autobiographical prose in the 1930s. Artemisia, her second novel, published in 1947, is the most acclaimed of the sixteen works of fiction she published during her long life, and is considered a classic of twentieth century Italian literature. Her last, harrowingly confessional novel, A Piercing Cry (Un grido lacerante), appeared in 1981. Banti also wrote art criticism and monographs on painters (Lorenzo Lotto, Fra Angelico, Velázquez, Monet), literary criticism and film reviews, and translated novels by Thackery, Colette, Alain Fournier, and Virginia Woolf. She died in Ronchi di Massa (Tuscanny) in 1985.