The story of the trial of Artemisia
The painter Orazio Gentileschi reports that Agostino Tassi, his colleague and friend, raped his daughter Artemisia and stole a painting. The report also implicated Tuzia, Gentileschi's tenant, who lived above the painter and his family.
Agostino Tassi and Tuzia are arrested upon court order.
The Judge goes to the Gentileschi residence to hear Artemisia's long recount. The young woman narrates how Agostino won her trust and that of her father, proving himself to be a friend and frequently visiting their home, while at the same
time befriending Tuzia. Then one day, Agostino took advantage of Artemisia, raping her, then promising to marry her.
In a prison cell, the judge listens to Agostino's side of the story--very different from Artemisia's. According to Agostino, Artemisia was of ill-repute, and her worried father asked him to keep an eye on his daughter.
The trial opens with the deposition of a midwife who declares to have examined Artemisia and verified that she is no longer a virgin. Agostino, Artemisia, Tuzia and other witnesses are called, some helping Agostino's case, some hurting it.
The judge makes the two protagonists confront one another: Agostino does not confess; Artemisia continues to claim she was raped. Her story remains the same even as she endures torture.
The film concludes in the garden of Judge where he converses with a friend, his daugher and a servant, discussing the trial and Artemisia: the woman and the painter. He had judged in her favor, but in a world in which rules are written by men, after such an event Artemisia had to leave Rome to reclaim her dignity.