VIII. SIBYL’S VICE

Despite the alleged freedom at home and at the workshop, the young Artemisia was not as free in relation to the outside world. Being very jealous Orazio would keep Artemisia closed inside under his grip. She could only go walking at dawn, veiled and strictly followed by a chaperon.   

Since her accusation was not believed, at the trial Artemisia was tortured with the Sibilli, or the vice of the Sibyl so called because through it, by means of a painful grip and crashing of the hands, the truth was expected.

A few years after in Florence at the court of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, the Grand Duchess Christine of Lorraine would ask for the large and disturbing Artemisia’s painting, Judith slaying Holofernes, to be moved to the most dark corner of the Pitti Palace and veiled.

 

 

Barbara STROZZI (1619 – 1677)
Lagrime mie (Diporti di Euterpe ovvero Cantate e ariette a voce sola, op. 7, Venezia, Bartolomeo Magni, 1659)

 

Tears of mine, why do you hold back,
why don’t you wash away the pain
which takes my breath and crushes my heart?
She, whom I adore,
Because she gave me a pitying glance,
Has been imprisoned by her severe father.
The innocent girl is locked up within walls
Which the sun’s rays cannot penetrate,
And what pains me most,
And increases my torment,
Is that I am the cause of my beloved’s suffering.
And you, my eyes, are not weeping!
Tears of mine, why do you hold back?
Alas, how I miss my idol,
I love so much!
She is shut up within marble walls and I sigh
but I do not die!
If death might be granted to me
now that I have no hope,
take my life,
(I beg of you) oh my sufferings!
But I am well aware that in order
to torture me even more.
Fate even denies me death, it is true then, oh God, that destiny desires only my tears.

 

 

back