A painting by Artemisia Gentileschi, one of the most accomplished Baroque painters of the generation following Caravaggio, was sold at Sotheby’s in Paris for almost €900,000, setting a new auction record for the 17th century female artist from Rome.
The painting, Maria Maddalena in estasi (Mary Magdalene in Ecstasy), surpassed the initial estimate – between €200,000 and €300,000 - by a large margin during the "Tableaux et Dessins Anciens et du XIXe siècle" auction held on June 26.
The artwork was identified and rediscovered by the Department of Ancient Painting of Paris in a collection in the South of France. Its existence was known only through an old photo of the early 20th century, preserved in the library of an Italian bookseller.
As many of the characters portrayed by Gentileschi, this Mary Magdalene is very human and evocative.
The daughter of Tuscan painter Orazio Gentileschi, Artemisia was the first woman to become a member of the Accademia di Arte del Disegno in Florence, in an era when women painters were not easily accepted by the artistic community. Her subjects were often strong and suffering women from myth and the Bible. Her best-known work is Judith Slaying Holofernes. She is regarded as one of the most progressive and expressionist painters of her generation.