” Congratulations on bringing Sofonisba to life!!! I just finished reading LADY IN ERMINE and truly loved it! Captivating and jam packed with history. I truly hope this gets made into a mini series! ” – Patricia Olsen (Marin, California)

“Auguro mucho éxito con su novela”  [I predict a lot of success with your novel.]  –Cristina Aloisetta, Directora Gerente/ General Manager Prado Bookstore, Museo Nacional Del Prado Difusion, October 22, 2019, opening day A Tale of Two Women Painters

Buy now on Amazon  or go to your favorite independent book store.

Sofonisba tells her story…finally…

LADY IN ERMINE ON THE BIG SCREEN: Hear legendary film critic Jan Wahl tell who plays Sofonisba. Listen here: https://youtu.be/3_0jgi6d5-c

Thank you, Commonwealth Club SF for a wonderful event, in the age before Covid-19.

Thank you Litquake 2019, and the Women’s National Book Association, October 12, 2019 for telling women’s stories.

Find Lady in Ermine this summer at the Uffizi Gallery and the Prado Museum book stores while supplies last!

Past Events

Lady in Ermine: The Story of a Woman Who Painted the Renaissance

by Donna DiGiuseppe

Bagwyn Books ISBN 978-0-86698-821-6

Available for order at your local bookstore or at Amazon.

Lady in Ermine: The Story of a Woman Who Painted the Renaissance reveals the discovery of an historic figure who embodies the struggle of women throughout the ages while immersing the reader in the sixteenth century world of the Renaissance figures she paints.

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As a girl in Lombardy, Sofonisba Anguissola trains to paint with mannerist masters, and though society frowns upon women having such ambition, Sofonisba’s father unwaveringly encourages her. A royal tour by Prince Philip of Spain inspires her lifelong dream: to perfect the king’s portrait and show his truth on canvas, the highest calling for a Renaissance portraitist. Her drive to vindicate her loving father, a bastard of nobility, propels her. Politics of the Spanish empire brings Sofonisba to the heart of the royal court in Madrid. She aspires to achieve her goal while others at court work to undermine her as a female artist. Tragedy unfolds in the royal household, but in the process, Sofonisba finds her opportunity to paint the King of Spain, honoring her family name with her success. In life after court, Sofonisba navigates two marriages, royal appointments, love, hardship, and bankruptcy, while leaving a legacy of hundreds of paintings and influencing generations of artists from Anthony van Dyck to Peter Paul Rubens. This is her story.

Who was  Sofonisba Anguissola?

No one knows her name, but thanks to Donna DiGiuseppe’s enthralling biographical novel, we can all learn the remarkable story of the Renaissance’s most successful female artist. Michelangelo recognized her genius; Vasari praised her talent. Caught up in court intrigues, family squabbles, and political upheavals, “Sofi” emerges as a full-bodied woman and sensitive artist who lived by her brush at a time when women’s only options were marriage or nunneries. LADY IN ERMINE elegantly weaves together rich historical details, finely etched characters, and a compelling plot to create a vivid portrait of a talented woman who defied the conventions of her times. This romantic saga brings to life a long-overlooked page in history and is sure to delight lovers of Italy, art, and history.Dianne Hales, Author, Mona Lisa: A Life Discovered and La Bella Lingua

Sofonisba’s extraordinary story is well situated in the turbulent politics of the time. In an enthralling tale of what might have been, Di Giuseppe succeeds admirably in capturing the elusive voices of an exceptional Renaissance woman and her family. Patricia Fortini Brown, Professor Emerita of Art & Archaeology, Princeton University

Debut author, Donna DiGiuseppe, has pulled the velvet draperies back to reveal an astonishing life – the late Renaissance painter, Sofonisba Anguissola. DiGiuseppe’s research details the swarthy worlds of the sublime Spanish and magnificent Medici courts while the specter of the Inquisition hovers. Delivered in a clear style, DiGiuseppe hand feeds her readers rich intrigues in an historical feast. Fans of historical fiction and creative nonfiction will embrace Lady in Ermine’s rendering of a great woman painter almost lost to the annals of art history. Pamela Livingston, Program Manager, The Book Passage

“LADY IN ERMINE dramatizes the life of the brilliant, talented, and resilient Renaissance painter, Sofonisba Anguissola. The book portrays the challenges and societal constraints that Sofonisba overcame to become a remarkable and successful artist. Donna DiGiuseppe delivers a human story of one woman’s ambition, sacrifice, romance, and loneliness in her quest for acceptance. The author graces the reader with well-drawn characters, dialogue, and a cinematic feel that give us a rich vision of the Renaissance.”Fr. James S. Galluzzo, Author, The Spirituality of Mary Magdalene.

2016 Finalist in Fiction, San Francisco Writers Conference

“Loved the book. Couldn’t put it down. An incredibly talented woman who, with her father’s unconditional encouragement, became a sought after portraitist in a time in history when only men were held in high esteem as artists.” Stephen Weiner, San Francisco