Life Without Instruction is based on a true story and a real trial. Artemesia Gentileschi’s father, the late-Renaissance painter Orazio Gentileschi, takes the unusual step of having his daughter trained in the art of painting under the instruction of his friend, Agostino Tassi. Tassi rapes Artemesia, and is taken to trial by both Artemesia and Orazio. As usual, the person really on trial in this rape case is the woman, who is publically humiliated and forced to endure the torture of thumb screws. Yet through this ordeal Artemesia not only emerges as a strong and independent woman: She comes into her own as a talented painter. Finally defying the manipulations of the men who had taken it upon themselves to orchestrate her life for her, Artemesia defiantly says to one of them—her father—“I’m not your little girl, anymore. I’m something else. Something truly unspeakable. An artist!” Sally Clark describes Life Without Instruction as “a revenge play.”
Cast of three women and five men.