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Artemisia Gentileschi gained both notoriety and fame during her lifetime; she was the victim in a high-profile rape trial, and although her attacker was found guilty, she suffered with the public shame of the violation. She struggled to build a reputation and career, eventually becoming a sought-after and successful painter. As one of the few notable woman artists of the day, her story continues to inspire, and later in 2020 she will be the subject of a major retrospective at the National Gallery in London, nearly 400 years after she was invited to the city by Charles I.
Jacqueline Saphra’s sonnet cycle positions Artemisia as an icon for our times – a woman who fought against injustice and established herself as an independent artist. This new book follows Saphra’s 2017 Hercules Editions publication, A Bargain with the Light, which saw her honour in sonnets another tough heroine, the photojournalist and muse Lee Miller. Since then she has also published with Nine Arches Press All My Mad Mothers, shortlisted for the prestigious T.S. Eliot Award, and Dad, Remember You are Dead – collections which probe how women navigate the present-day world.