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Blood Water Paint

Blood Water Paint

Book - 2018
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In Renaissance Italy, Artemisia Gentileschi endures the subjugation of women that allows her father to take credit for her extraordinary paintings, rape and the ensuing trial, and torture, buoyed by her deceased mother's stories of strong women of the Bible.
Her mother died when she was twelve, and suddenly Artemisia Gentileschi had to choose: a life as a nun in a convent or a life grinding pigment for her father's paint. She chose paint. By the time she was seventeen, Artemisia did more than grind pigment. She was one of Italy's most talented painters, even if no one knew her name. But Rome in 1610 was a city where men took what they wanted from women, and in the aftermath of rape Artemisia faced another choice: be silent or tell the truth, no matter the cost. I will show you what a woman can do. Joy McCullough's bold novel in verse is a portrait of an artist as a young woman, filled with the soaring highs of inspiration and the devastating setbacks of a system built to break her. McCollough weaves Artemisia's heartbreaking story with the stories of the ancient heroines Susanna and Judith, who become not only the subjects of two of Artemisia's most famous paintings but sources of strength as she battles to paint a young woman's timeless truth in the face of all-too-familiar violence. -- From dust jacket.
Publisher: New York, NY : Dutton Books, [2018]
Copyright Date: ©2018
ISBN: 9780735232112
Call Number: y MCCULLOUG 2018
Characteristics: 289 pages ; 22 cm


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Sep 11, 2020

This is a wonderful, powerfully emotional book.

I knew nothing of its main character, prior to proposing the book to my local library as a purchase suggestion. Artemisia Gentileschi's disgracefully under-recognised artwork is now, a matter of public record. As are the details of her horrific (by modern standards) rape trial. Her work remains the subject of debate that clouds her manifest genius.

Joy McCullough skilfilly weaves biblical allegories into the protagonist's narration, as thought bubbles that help her understand her place in the world. It is a beautifully crafted book. Even to the point that the typesetting is designed to ease the transition between narration, dialogue, and allegorical interlude.

It an easily read book, yet given the subject matter, sometimes hard to read. The subject matter is dark, but I am so very glad to have experienced it.

Jul 18, 2020

Wow, absolutely incredible book. She tackles a tough subject, breathes life into it and makes you cry at just the right place. It's the true stories, with their cruelness which can only be found in reality, that are so hard-hitting.

I connected a lot with the poetry and style in this novel in verse. It was modern and kept things moving. Also liked the alternating between Judith and Susanna, but that could have been condensed a little bit more to accomplish the same effect.

Trigger warning: Rape

JCLHeatherC Jan 31, 2020

2020 Librarian's Read Challenge

LPL_MaryW Sep 20, 2019

Blood Water Paint punched me in the face, and I’m not even mad about it. It’s historical fiction like you’ve never read, told in powerful verse by an illiterate narrator—real-life Italian Baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi (a.k.a. my new feminist hero). That’s right, this book is the story of a real girl who was raped in the seventeenth century, and who took her rapist to trial (charging him with damage to her father’s property), all while painting masterpieces to her father’s sole credit. This unflinchingly feminist story will give courage to girls and women for years to come.

Jan 24, 2019

I rated this 4 stars because it's an important book and it will resonate very strongly for the readers it needs to reach.

But...really it's more of a 3-star book for me. The verse didn't seem to work very well for the storytelling, though it did at least finally make sense once I found out it was adapted from a stage play. (I think that format would be most compelling, and I kind of wish it had been brought to the public in the form of a script instead of a novel in verse.)

This one was overall good. I could tell what it was trying to do. But for me, it still fell flat.

I'm not sure who the audience is -- sexual assault survivors might find it *too* real (and too depressing that not much has changed in the last few hundred years) and other audiences might not connect. But I'm sure that audience is out there. So check it out from your local library for free, try it, and see -- maybe it'll change your life.

JCLHebahA Jan 02, 2019

This was my last read of 2018, and it's a powerful one. Historical stories like Artemisia's will, it seems, always be relevant, but it's about more than rape--it's feminism and how women's stories are told and art and history. Blood Water Paint is one of those stories that is going to stick with me.

RDPL_Teens Dec 18, 2018

"When a woman risks her place/her very life to speak/a truth the world despises?/ Believe her. Always."

This work of historical fiction written in largely in verse hits right at the very heart of issues of gender, rape, victim-shaming, and strength of spirit and conviction. A difficult, but valuable read for youth and adults both, and a brilliant reminder that survivors of sexual violence are not alone. The story is based on true events that happened to a young Italian artist in the 1600s and the stand she takes against her attacker and the society which sought to condemn her. A brilliant debut!

" I will show you/what a woman can do".

JCLEmmaF Nov 16, 2018

"I will show you / what a woman can do."
This book is very hard to read, which is perhaps why it should be read. I had no idea who Artemisia Gentileschi was until I read this book, and I am stunned: One of Italy's most talented painters was a woman who wanted to tell women's stories accurately. Stunning. This is a book in verse telling the story of female power and vulnerability, through sexual violence.

SnoIsleLib_LindseyA Nov 03, 2018

This is a powerful debut novel written in verse about trailblazing Italian painter, Artemisia Gentileschi. Artemisia was one of the rare female artists of the early modern era, a teenager whose talent surpassed her father's at a time when women's lives were controlled by men. I've always been fascinated by Artemisia as an artist, and moved by her bravery in bringing her rape case to court. Woven throughout are tales of women from the Bible that are surprisingly feminist in nature, and mirror the events in Artemisia's life. It's a lovely read!

infinite_tbr Jul 17, 2018

I loved that this book was in verse, it really helped you get inside Artemisia Gentileschi's head. This book is kind of intense at points since it deals with rape as a subject, but it's a powerful story of standing up and speaking out. I just wish it had pictures of her paintings...

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JCLEmilyD Jan 05, 2019

"Women who speak truth. / And listen to me, love. / When a woman risks / her place, her very life to speak / a truth the world despises? / Believe her. Always" (p. 252)

JCLEmilyD Jan 05, 2019

"Why, though, does it take / a mother, daughter, sister / for men to take / a women at her word?" (p. 237)

JCLEmilyD Jan 05, 2019

"The court's concerned, / as always, / with the men." (p. 223)

JCLEmilyD Jan 05, 2019

"But then, to be so terrified and still persist is true courage." (p. 220)

JCLEmilyD Jan 05, 2019

"Words have power. / He won't take mine again." (p. 202)

JCLEmilyD Jan 05, 2019

"She deserves that much--a witness, one who says I see you, hear you, I'm better for knowing your story." (p. 175)

JCLEmilyD Jan 05, 2019

"Sometimes that's all you need, my love--another woman's faith in you." (p. 158)

JCLEmilyD Jan 05, 2019

"The boys have all the tales they need of brave warriors and army captains." (p. 142)

JCLEmilyD Jan 05, 2019

"The world will tell you not to be outraged, love. They will tell you to sit quietly, be kind. Be a lady.
And when they do? Be Judith instead." (p. 78)

JCLEmilyD Jan 05, 2019

"You'll feel outrage too one day. Perhaps you already have... But you will rage, and be told you are too small, too weak, too feebleminded to be of use. You are not." (p. 76)

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Add Notices
JCLEmilyD Jan 05, 2019

Sexual Content: This title contains Sexual Content.

JCLEmilyD Jan 05, 2019

Violence: rape, stoning, beheading, sexual assault

RDPL_Teens Dec 18, 2018

Sexual Content: Depicts rape.

RDPL_Teens Dec 18, 2018

Violence: Depicts a beheading, and rape.


Add Age Suitability
RDPL_Teens Dec 18, 2018

RDPL_Teens thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over


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