Monika Beisner artist/illustrator
Monika Beisner studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts Braunschweig (HBK) and – with a scholarship from the DAAD – at the Slade School of Fine Art, London and at the University of the Arts (HDK), Berlin. A Fulbright scholarship enabled her to study in New York. Since 1970 she has lived as a freelance artist in London, Ratzeburg and on Gozo (Malta).
Beisner's major work is – in addition to the illustration of numerous children's books, which appeared among others in Denmark, England, Finland, France, Italy, Korea, Japan, Spain and the US – the meticulous illustration of all 100 cantos of the Divine Comedy by the Italian poet Dante Alighieri. Following Botticelli, William Blake, Gustave Doré and Salvador Dalí Beisner is the first woman to to take on a complete illustration of this landmark work of world literature. In rich detail and as faithfully as possible she has translated Dante's 100 cantos into images painted with egg tempera. All 100 paintings are currently in the permanent collection of the Italian Livio Ambrogio.
The British writer and cultural historian Marina Warner wrote about Dante Beisners images: "The hundred miniatures took her seven years to complete and the achievement is dazzling. The present volume reproduces her work full-size ... with no strokes or drawing visible, but a pure glow of dense color, applied with brushes so small they consist of a half-dozen sable hairs ... Monika Beisner has been scrupulously loyal to Dante's text, rendering gesture and position as described in the poem as well as its unsurpassed precision of spatial, temporal and geographical coordinates. "
After completing her illustration of the Divine Comedy Beisner turned to Ovid's Metamorphoses. She is currently working on the illustration of The Epic of Gilgamesh.