ViacomCBS International Studios has ordered a drama based on the life of sixteenth century artist Artemisia Gentileschi from Jill Offman, Managing Director at 66 Media and former Managing Director of ViacomCBS International Studios U.K. and filmand TV producer, Frida Torresblanco (“Pan’s Labyrinth,” “The Assassination of Richard Nixon,” “Dancer Upstairs,” “Disobedience”).
Currently in development and slated to begin production in 2021, the project is slated to be the first made-for-television series to depict the famed artist known for her violent, seductive autobiographical portraits, who later became an iconic figure of the modern-day feminist movement. For the series, VIS has optioned the rights to Mary Garrard’s authoritative non-fiction academic text, Artemisia Gentileschi: The Image of the Female Hero in Italian Baroque Art, which includes 400-year old transcripts of the artist’s rape trial from the Florentine archives.
Born in Rome in 1593, Artemisia Gentileschi is considered one of the most accomplished painters in the Baroque period. As the only female painter in an era when female artists were not generally accepted, Gentileschi was the first woman to become a member of the Accademia del Disegno in Florence and was known for having a truly international, aristocratic and royal clientele.
Gentileschi faced challenges in both her professional and personal life. She was raped by her painting tutor, and as a result was subjected to gruelling questioning and physical torture during the trial that ensued. Gentileschi turned the injustices she experienced, including domination and rape, into vivid paintings that were also a statement against the oppression of women.
“I have been obsessed with Artemisia since I saw a single painting of hers in Italy. Passionate, fierce, masterful; Artemisia’s work spoke of her lived experience, the experience of a female artist in Renaissance Italy that remains just as relevant today,” said Jill Offman. “While Artemisia’s empowering and exhilarating work is finally getting the wider recognition it deserves in galleries, I am thrilled to be working with Frida and the team at ViacomCBS International Studios to bring her vision to the screen.”
“I’m honored to team up with Jill Offman and the ViacomCBS International Studios team. I couldn’t be more passionate about giving Artemisia a voice and bringing her timely story to the screen. Now more than ever the inspiration that her life and her art provides is needed,” said Frida Torresblanco. “There is a strong connection with this sort of young and brave woman who can overcome abuse and to turn it into a legacy of genius. This will be a contemporary feminist piece that is at once provocative and transgressive, invoking the spirit of our present moment in an eloquent and elegant way.”
Torresblanco currently runs Braven Films, alongside her partners Eric Laufer and Giovanna Randall.