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The daughter of a painter and later one of the most accomplished followers of Caravaggio, Artemisia Gentileschi learned to draw and paint at an early age, first from her father and later from a private tutor named Agostino Tassi. Unfortunately for Artemisia, Tassi taught her more than perspective in drawing: He raped her at 19, and in the trial that ensued, Artemisia refused to take back her accusation even when she was tortured by thumbscrews. The young artist revisited that dark moment in her life many times in bloody and violent paintings like her famous "Judith Beheading Holfernes," in which the biblical heroine sneaks into her enemy's tent and beheads him. The 17th-century baroque painter is now the subject of a play written by Bill Hartley and directed by UNC-Greensboro theater professor Bob Hansen. Artemisia and the Dowager Queen cleverly links the story of the painter with the exiled Dowager Queen of France, Marie de Medici and stars Lesley Hunt as Medici. Appropriately enough, the N.C. Museum of Art is hosting the performance on Jan. 27, at 8 p.m, and Jan. 28, at 3 p.m. Admission is $8. Call 715-5923 for tickets.

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