Her work is now being fully appreciated by the art world and this Lucretia picture is being offered for the first time at auction at Dorotheum’s in Vienna in October.
The 17th century Italian baroque artist often painted heroic women and her self-portrait as St Catherine of Alexandria (c.1615-17) was bought by the National Gallery in London for £3.6m earlier this summer.
Of the 60 or so paintings attributed to Gentileschi, the majority feature a strong female heroine, and many of her works have been read as having an autobiographical edge.
The subject of Lucretia, the Roman noblewoman, is a popular symbol of female defiance against tyranny.
Dorotheum said: “Dramatic images in many of her paintings such as the present work, Lucretia, derive from her own powerful experience of violence and its aftermath. Lucretia‘s appalling tragedy in the 6th century BC led to an popular uprising which was to culminate in the fall of the Roman monarchy and the subsequent foundation of the Republic of Rome.”
Lucretia is consigned from an aristocratic collection where it has been since the mid-19th century and carries an estimate of €500,000-700,000 during the Austrian auction house’s sale week on October 23-25.