Beehive Books Celebrates Feminist Painter Artemisia Gentileschi In New Kickstarter

by James Ferguson

The 17th century painter Artemisia Gentileschi created Baroque masterpieces when she was only a teenager and yet she’s been forgotten for centuries after her death. Other artists from this time period like Caravaggio, Rembrandt, and Rubens are household names. Beehive Books has set out to change that with a new graphic novel exploring her story.

The boutique publisher of art books and comics has launched a Kickstarter campaign to translate Artemisaia into English from its original French. It intends to reach a new audience through comics, showcasing the rich visual portrayal of the artist’s story and her art that cannot be conveyed through prose.

The graphic novel was originally written by Nathalie Ferlut and illustrated by Tamia Baudouin. Beehive’s Co-Founder and Creative Director, Maëlle Doliveux will be translating it. The 100-page book looks at Artemisia’s life, going from her upbringing her in father’s studio to her assault by her tutor and the trial that followed, and the establishment of her career in Florence, which saw her creating artwork for clients such as the House of Medici and the English royal family.

The creation of some of Artemisia’s most iconic works will be explored in the comic. She reinterpreted classic biblical and mythological scenes to show women with power, agency, and subjectivity during a time when women could not legally buy painting supplies.

Doliveux says:

It’s vital to keep telling [the] stories of women like Artemisia to remember that history is not the sole property of men. This book is a portrait of Artemisia making her own history.

The Kickstarter for Artemisia is running through September 17th, 2019. At the time of this writing, it has reached about 60% of its funding goal. Rewards include the book itself in digital and physical format, original artwork, and even a co-publisher credit.

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