After immensely successful visits to Scotland and a GP Surgery in East Yorkshire, the National Gallery’s Artemisia Gentileschi self-portrait is continuing her journey around the UK by visiting Sacred Heart Catholic High School in Newcastle upon Tyne.


The rare self-portrait by the celebrated artist of the Italian Baroque – Self Portrait as Saint Catherine of Alexandria (about 1615–17) – is on display from Tuesday 14 May (until Friday 17 May).


Anita Bath, Headmistress of Sacred Heart Catholic High School says:


“It feels apt to show Artemisia Gentileschi’s Self Portrait as Saint Catherine of Alexandria in a school founded by a similarly pioneering woman.  Gentileschi and the founding Sisters of the Sacred Heart asserted their place in the world with confidence, enthusiasm and strength of character, and have inspired countless women to do the same.


As a specialist Performing Arts School, the Arts feature prominently in our curriculum and are crucial to enabling our students to find their voice and express their individuality. Using a range of media, students develop personal investigations that often explore issues of identity, and parallels can be drawn to Gentileschi’s portrait. The current practice displayed across Sacred Heart reflects the artist’s enduring influence and Art's unique platform to express who we are, enabling us to cross frontiers.”

Through spring and summer 2019, Artemisia’s painting – acquired by the National Gallery, London in July 2018 - is undertaking a series of ‘visits’ to unusual and unexpected venues (not all of them galleries or museums) across the UK. The tour started at Glasgow Women’s Library (6-19 March) for International Women’s Day and continued at Pocklington Group Practice (29 April – 11 May).


Future visits will include East London, where Artemisia will be a stop on the E17 Art Trail as part of its Waltham Forest London Borough of Culture 2019 celebrations. 


Director of the National Gallery, Dr Gabriele Finaldi says,“The National Gallery has never done a tour like this, taking a masterpiece to unexpected venues where it can be enjoyed by people who may not be able to see it in Trafalgar Square. The response in Glasgow and Pocklington was superb and we are looking forward to engaging with local communities in the next surprising venues."


Artemisia Gentileschi is considered one of the most accomplished painters among the followers of Caravaggio, whom she may have known personally through her father, Orazio. In an era when female artists were not easily accepted, she was the first woman to become a member of the Accademia del Disegno in Florence and had a truly international clientele, including royalty.


Artemisia faced challenges in both her professional and personal life: she was raped by a fellow painter and was subjected to gruelling questioning and physical torture during the trial that ensued. Her biography has long overshadowed her artistic achievements, but today she is recognised as one of the most talented painters of her generation.

Click the image above for a link to the National Gallery's page about Artmesia Gentileschi.