Susan Hawthorne #290 Beyond Caravaggio

it’s what they say in their titles
but they always forget the meaning
of beyond
to go beyond is not only to follow
or add just a little here and there
to go beyond
is to go further not just in time
but in intent scale and originality
the beyond
I thought we would see was
the beyond of Artemisia Gentilleschi
a beyond
that broke even more rules than
Caravaggio imagine a woman going
so beyond
as to paint her trials of reputational
and physical abuse and rape
to go beyond
men’s truths her painting Suzanne
and the Elders is about disbelief
the rules of patriarchal lies her trial
not even mentioned in the captions
and beyond
the silence of Gentilleschi’s work are
the paintings not included in the show
polite conversation in which Judith
cuts off the head of Holofernes way
what any woman should imagine even
after years of social death and centuries
of erasure
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