Artemisia was a painter of passions; of rich colors and fraught moments; of women taking command of their own stories. She reversed the classical depictions of female characters in mythology, presenting them with agency, as the protagonists of their own narratives.
And she was the hero of her own story, too. Despite working in a male-dominated field at a time when women could not even legally buy painting supplies, Gentileschi created an independent life for herself as a stunning artist of unparalleled power and uncompromised vision. She achieved fame and fortune through her own work, as the one of the first women ever to support herself with her brush.
And now we need your help to tell her story.
[Content warning: discussion of rape and sexual assault.]
Gentileschi (1593-1656) was born in Rome to Orazio Gentileschi, a painter and contemporary of Caravaggio. A true prodigy, she learned to paint in her father's workshop and by her late teens had already completed some of her most powerful and enduring works, developing a beautifully rendered realist style quite unlike her father's.
She often diverged from classical depictions of women as delicate and submissive, carving out her own trail as a fierce proto-feminist thinker. She reinterpreted biblical and mythological scenes through a lens of female agency and empowerment, from the shockingly visceral Judith Slaying Holofernes to her unflinchingly frank depiction of sexual harassment and abuse in Susanna and the Elders.
These issues were deeply personal for her: Gentileschi was a survivor of repeated sexual assaults by her tutor. Though the Gentileschi's brought him to court and won, Artemisia endured torture by thumbscrews in the process of a brutal trial. Finding her reputation in Rome irreparably tarnished after the trial, she left, refusing to allow the abuse in her past to define her. Instead, she reinvented herself in Florence, becoming the first woman to join their prestigious academy of arts and going on to attract a robust international patronage.
Over the next forty years, Gentileschi enjoyed a remarkably prolific and successful career. She took on commissions from clients as powerful as the Medicis and the English royal family, and collaborated with many of the other most influential painters of her time.
Gentileschi was one of the most skilled and original artists of her generation, but her work was largely forgotten for centuries. She was finally rediscovered by feminist scholars in the mid-20th century, and is now rightfully recognized as one of the most important Baroque painters, but her name is still not nearly as widely known as Caravaggio or Rembrandt.
We want to change that.
This beautifully written and delicately drawn biography of Gentileschi was originally written in French, and has yet to be introduced to the English-speaking world. But with your support, we can do so.
Written by author Nathalie Ferlut, and drawn by illustrator and comics artist Tamia Baudouin, this 100-page hardcover biography is told through the lens of Artemisia's daughter as she questions her mother about their own family history. The ensuing story brings us through Gentileschi's remarkable life from her childhood in Rome and early paintings to her trial, ensuing career and later marriage.
The book will be translated from French to English by none other than Beehive's own award-winning art director, Maëlle Doliveux, who is eloquently fluent in both. With your help, we can bring Artemisia's story to a new and eager audience, told fittingly through the powerful visual medium of comics.
We have a number of pieces of Tamia Baudouin original artwork for sale, including pages from the book, preparatory sketches and studies, and the original cover. These are unique items -- please message us to specify the piece you'd like to select when you make your pledge. We'll mark things as sold or remove them as they go.
All art is 11.69 x 16.53 inches. Graphite on paper.
SKETCHES - $300
ART FROM THE BOOK - $500
NATHALIE FERLUT was born in Sète, France on November 26th 1968 and currently resides in the Haute-Savoie region of France. She obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Nîmes, prior to pursuing her studies at the Beaux-Arts school in Angoulême where she obtained a diploma in comics in 1993. After brief stints in various animation related jobs, she returned to her love of comics full time. She began by writing the science-fiction mini-series Ether Glister, illustrated by Yoann and the later by Thierry Leprévost, and then she illustrated the children’s comic, The History of Mrs. Moon, written by Jean-Luc Loyer. Ferlut also both wrote and illustrated many of her own more personal works, including Le Bel Inconnu, an adaptation of a medieval novel (published in two volumes by Carabas in 2004 and 2005), Lettres d’Agathe (published by Delcourt), Ève sur la balançoire and Andersen (both published by Casterman).
TAMIA BAUDOUIN is a French illustrator and comics artist who lives and works in Japan. She began her art studies at the Emile Cohl school, and continued her education at the ESA Saint Luc in Brussels, Belgium. She is passionate about drawing, both in comics (main stream and indie comics equally) as well as fashion illustration. Artemisia is her first published comics work, and was soon followed by her second comic book collaboration with Nathalie Ferlut, Dans La Foret Des Lilas, also published by Delcourt earlier this year. Her next book, written by Béatrice Bottet, is Charles Perrault's Tales, and will be published by Casterman this Fall.
BEEHIVE BOOKS is a Philadelphia-based boutique press founded by the artist and designer Maëlle Doliveux and author and editor Josh O’Neill. They create book art editions of great prose & pictorial works with a special emphasis on graphic art, design, and comics. Their line of books currently includes monographs on Harrison Cady and Herbert Crowley, illustrated novels with art by Yuko Shimizu, Bill Sienkiewicz, Dave McKean and Paul Pope, and the ongoing experimental periodical LAAB Magazine, curated and created by Ronald Wimberly.
In addition to being a three-time Eisner nominee, Beehive Books has won two Bronze Cubes from the Art Director’s Club, as well as two Communication Arts design competitions. Their Illuminated Editions line has recently been exhibited at the prestigious Society of Illustrators in New York City.
New visions, forgotten treasures, paper worlds. Learn more at www.beehivebooks.com, or find us on Instagram @beehivebooks.
Risks and challenges
As the veterans of nearly dozen fully funded and fulfilled Kickstarter campaigns, Beehive Books founders Josh O’Neill and Maelle Doliveux know well the challenges associated with funding, printing, and distributing beautiful oversized art books. Between our various ventures, we have raised nearly a million dollars on Kickstarter, and rewarded backers of every campaign with very beautiful books and rewards.
Armed with that experience we feel very ready to tackle the task of producing and publishing substantial, handsome volumes befitting their brilliant authors and illustrators.
We've carefully priced out expenses for domestic and overseas shipping, as well as printing costs for all books, prints and ancillary rewards. We’ve arranged for the logistics of reward fulfillment. We know exactly how much money we need to get this project across the finish line. All we need is the funding necessary to finish the job. In fact, with such a substantial funding goal, the biggest danger is simply that we'll fall short of our ambitious aims.
Still, there are more risks and challenges involved in making books with this level of production value than I can realistically list here. Don't believe anybody who tells you this stuff is easy. Problems can and will pop up in ways we can't predict. But we have the knowledge, experience and commitment to persevere through difficulties and deliver a product that meets and exceeds the exacting expectations of our audience of discerning readers and collectors.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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