By Her Hand: Artemisia Gentileschi and Women Artists in Italy, 1500–1800

February 6 – May 29, 2022

By Her Hand: Artemisia Gentileschi and Women Artists in Italy, 1500–1800 explores the untold role of women artists in Italy from the birth of the Renaissance until the Enlightenment. In this male-dominated Italian art world, these 17 women navigated many obstacles to succeed. Confident self-portraits, realistic still lifes, scenes of women's bravery, and meditative religious scenes reveal their technical skill and ingenuity. Nearly 60 artworks, including international loans, highlight the creativity of these women artists and celebrate their business savvy.

Beyond Artemisia Gentileschi, visitors will be introduced to a diverse and dynamic group of Italian women artists, from the court artist Sofonisba Anguissola (1532–1625) to the painter and printmaker from Bologna Elisabetta Sirani (1638–1665), among other talented and virtually unknown Italian women artists.

Your ticket for By Her Hand includes a dynamic multimedia tour with audio, images, video, and interactive storytelling that bring these artists’ stories from 400 years ago into conversation with the modern day. To access the tour during your visit, please bring your own smartphone and headphones. 




"Judith and Her Maidservant with the Head of Holofernes," 1523-1525, Artemisia Gentileschi, Italian; oil on canvas. Detroit Institute of Arts.

By Her Hand: Artemisia Gentileschi and Women Artists in Italy, 1500–1800 is organized by the Detroit Institute of Arts and the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art. 

Major support is provided by the European Paintings Council, Masco Corporation, Huntington, Anne G Fredericks, and the Valade Family.  

Additional support is provided by Jennifer Adderley, Peter and Carol Walters, Mary Ann and Robert Gorlin, MSU Federal Credit Union and the Desk Drawer Fund, Claudia J. Nickel, the Nancy S. Williams Trust and Sharon Backstrom, executor, Brenda Naomi Rosenberg, an anonymous donor, the Richard and Jane Manoogian Foundation, and the Robert Lehman Foundation. 

Funding is also provided by Ann Berman and Daniel Feld and the Samuel H. Kress Foundation.