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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 Pre-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.
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.