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Artemisia Gentileschi, Italian, 1593–c.1654
Oil on copper
Made in
Italy, Europe
Current Location
Not on view
16 1/4 × 20 3/4 in. (41.3 × 52.7 cm)
framed: 26 1/16 in. × 30 1/16 in. × 4 in. (66.2 × 76.4 × 10.2 cm)
Credit Line
Museum Purchase and gift of Edward Mallinckrodt, Sydney M. Shoenberg Sr., Horace Morison, Mrs. Florence E. Bing, Morton D. May in honor of Perry T. Rathbone, Mrs. James Lee Johnson Jr., Oscar Johnson, Fredonia J. Moss, Mrs. Arthur Drefs, Mrs. W. Welles Hoyt, J. Lionberger Davis, Jacob M. Heimann, Virginia Linn Bullock in memory of her husband, George Benbow Bullock, C. Wickham Moore, Mrs. Lyda D'Oench Turley and Miss Elizabeth F. D'Oench, and J. Harold Pettus, and bequests of Mr. Alfred Keller and Cora E. Ludwig, by exchange
Public Domain
Object Number
This painting demonstrates Artemisia Gentileschi’s success in capturing textures. These include the golden strands of hair that caress the figure’s shoulder, the lush fabric of the bedcover, and the metal coins that fall upon bare flesh. Painted when Gentileschi was only 19 years old, this picture reflects the skill, learned from her father Orazio, to paint subtle flesh tones and rich surfaces. Such sensuous effects are appropriate to the ancient Greek story of Danaë, a young woman who was confined to a chamber by her father to prevent her becoming pregnant. An oracle (or seer) had predicted she would bear a son who would kill her own father. Zeus, king of the gods, was able to thwart the plan by transforming himself into a golden rain to impregnate Danaë.
- 1986
Private Collection

1986/02/22 -
Kate Ganz, Ltd., purchased at auction, Sotheby's, Monte Carlo, Monaco, February 22, 1986, lot no. 243 [1]

Morton Morris & Company Ltd., London, England

1986 -
Saint Louis Art Museum, purchased from Morton Morris & Company Ltd. [2]

[1] According to the 1999 catalogue raisonné, Kate Ganz, Ltd. purchased the painting at auction in 1986 as a work by Orazio Gentileschi [Bissell, R. Ward. "Artemisia Gentileschi and the authority of art: critical reading and catalogue raisonné." University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1999, p. 310].

[2] An Invoice from Morton Morris & Company dated August 1, 1986, lists Orazio Gentileschi as the author of the painting [SLAM document files]. Minutes of the Acquisitions and Loans Committee of the Board of Trustees, Saint Louis Art Museum, August 1, 1986.
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