She was called the "Lethal Beauty" by the media of her day on account of her husband murdering another man over her. Having entered the public eye at a young age, Evelyn Nesbit became a beauty icon as the Gibson Girl, and attracted many people, many with ill intent. But the story they didn't know was of her being controlled and sexually assaulted by those same men who professed to love and want to protect her. She was followed by the shadow of that scandal her entire life, becoming an alcoholic and unable to find work on account of her association with scandal. Eventually, she left the east coast and became a ceramics teacher in California, where she took back control of her narrative over her past.
Portrait of Evelyn Nesbit
9x12 oval, oil on board
Cleopatra VII Philopater craved power and took it , and was a powerful ruler in a time when her world was changing due to the growth of the Roman Empire. She was cunning and clever and did her best to secure her power by aligning herself with other powerful rulers of her day. Most of what we know about her today was probably fabricated or over-exaggerated by the later Roman historians who didn't believe a woman could be a ruler by her own merit, but in their opinion, had to seduce power from powerful men. I chose to base this portrait on the only known contemporary portraits of her when she was alive- Egyptian coins. There is none of the sexual symbolism, started by the Romans, and perpetuated by Hollywood, just a simple Greek style portrait solidifying her place in history.
Portrait of Cleopatra
9x12 oval, oil on board
Lethal Beauties is a series of portraits of women from history. The one thing that they have in common is their effort to stand out, make a difference, make an impact, seize power, or in other ways take control of their own narratives. Many of them failed, pushed down by the men in their lives, or the men who wrote the histories. It is my goal to help these long deceased women reclaim their narratives by sharing them here with you. Many of them succeeded, making this world a more equal and accepting place for people everywhere, and it is my goal to honor them. All of them left their own unique legacy on history, and the history of women in the world more specifically. This series is a growing and constantly changing group of paintings. I have always been fascinated by women from history who tried to stand out. These paintings are dedicated to all of them, the ones who succeeded and the ones who may have seemed to fail, but who still deserve to be recognized for their contributions to where women are today. I tried to remove any suggestion of sexual allure, because some of these women were only known for that during and after their lifetimes, and I personally want to focus on other aspects of their legacies besides that. If you know of any stories of amazing women from history who seized control of their narrative, please reach out to me and give me your suggestions.