Why was historical figure Artemisia significant?

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Painter Artemisia Gentileschi was important as the first female to join the Accademia di Arte del Disegno in Florence. More generally, she is now considered one of the significant artists of the first half of the seventeenth century. Feminist revision has led to a new appreciation of her work for featuring strong women, especially Biblical figures such as Jael and Judith, who showed agency by defeating powerful males foes with their own hands. In one of her most famous works, "Judith Slaying Holofernes," Artemisia shows in close-up Judith cutting Holofernes' throat to save her people from him. Artemisia gained notoriety in her lifetime for being raped and critics have sometimes seen in her images of female violence against men a manifestation of that trauma. 

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