• Time to read less than 1 minute
Self Portrait as Saint Catherine of Alexandria by Artemisia Gentileschi
Self Portrait as Saint Catherine of Alexandria by Artemisia Gentileschi 1615-17

That’s me. In the painting.
Self Portrait as Saint Catherine of Alexandria.
I was always my own best model.
Maybe I flattered myself a little,
put colour in the cheeks, brightened the eyes.
Why not? I was young and vain. 

You there in the gallery, looking up,
do you wish to paint like me? See the
cruel wheel, its spikes meant for Catherine?
They say it shattered at her touch. See the break?
That took me days. See how the folds
of her garment fall just so? See the
crown and headdress? What a job I had,
getting it right.

Ah my sisters, you’ll never know the scorn,
the humiliation I endured, daring to paint
alongside men. All dead now.
My father Orazio believed in my talent, but even he
could not protect me. Still, I survived.
And others followed. Then more.
So not all bad. 

You’re staring at me. Don’t waste your tears.
Do I look like a loser? Go home. Paint. Do this.
Pause and remember me when next
you hold a brush to canvas.

 

Share this and help promote amazing Aussie writing.

About the author:

Catherine McCallum

Profile picture for user cathy.ocean
Catherine McCallum is a writer from Tasmania. After a career in Australia and Europe as an art director, she now lives in a fishing village with her husband and two dogs, completing a YA Sci-fi novel and writing poetry inspired by favourite works of art.

Popular on Brain drip

Green and Women: is his representation of women positive or negative?

Profile picture for user email_registration_QnF3T7H6DV

If you’re a fan of Young Adult novels (or have ever been on YouTube) then you’ve most likely heard of author John Green. In recent times there has been a lot of debate surrounding John Green’s representation of women and whether it is positive or negative. As his target audience is generally young adults and teens, the way he portrays women is incredibly important as it creates a mould for how young girls may believe they are perceived by others.

Closer In

Profile picture for user caitlin_prince_1

You show up in Parnawarratji and try to arrange the single loop of sealed road, the vacant red dirt lots and the dotted housing with massive metal cages on the front, into a ‘community’ in your mind. It isn’t what you were expecting, but then, you didn’t know what to expect. Certainly not so much sky, arcing over the horizon, the line blurred by a hazy fringe of spinifex grass.