Auguri Sofonisba, Your Work Lives On

Beautiful Restoration of Sofonisba’s Madonna dell”Itria

Here’s how I saw it in Paterno` in 2006. They have done a terrific job enhancing the color. Well done Museo Civico di Cremona and Silvia Galli.

Church of the Santissima Annunziata, Paterno`
The Chess Game by Sofonisba Anguissola 1555 (Photo by Donna DiGiuseppe)

A PRINCESS OF PEACE  for 2021

So much pain, in so many ways, 2020. Yet, also, transformation, change, growth. Quarantine offered time and simplicity.

I used my time and angst in 2020 to polish the screenplay adaptation of LADY IN ERMINE.

Six rewrites. It was rough in June. Wordy in July. Rambling in August.

In September, I worked with Mira Kopell (UC Berkeley, Film & Media). Thank you, Mira!

October to nail the structure.

November, it all came together.

December, my gift to myself was to finish it.

From reader feedback, Ferrante Anguissola, and my own gut feelings, I know LADY IN ERMINE will make a beautiful film. Plus, historical fiction is back (Bridgerton). Strong female characters are in (The Queen’s Gambit). The time for LADY IN ERMINE  is here.

But 2021 needs both patience and a kick. We pine for the vaccine distribution. We need to get on with life.

So, I’m beginning the second novel of the Lady in Ermine series. Sofonisba influenced so much, and so many.

LADY IN ERMINE: The Story of  a Woman Who Painted the Renaissance begins on September 21, 1549. I will work to finish a manuscript of A PRINCESS OF PEACE by September 21, 2021. Patience and a kick for 2021. Thank you to all who gave feedback on the first novel. It has been so positive! I am grateful. To a healthy and peaceful 2021.

TheQueen’sGambit Meet Lady In Ermine

With the success of The Queen’s Gambit, Sofonisba’s Chess Game is relevant again. Sofonisba wove a narrative of her own Queen’s Gambit right into the game played in her 1555 masterpiece. It’s dramatized in Lady in Ermine, Chapter Four, “The Chess Game.”

I think Sofi would enjoy this series and it’s focus on women and chess. http://sofonisba.net

The Chess Game by Sofonisba Anguissola 1555

When Senators are Silent

When The 500 Year Old Roman Republic Became an Empire

“He had absolute control of the provinces, too, and power to appoint the provincial governors-general, together with the command of the armies and the right of levying troops and of making peace or war. In Rome he was voted the life-office of People’s Protector, which secured him against all interference with his authority, gave him the power of vetoing the decisions of other office-holders and carried with it the inviolability of his person…

“He also had the Censorship, which gave him authority over the two leading social orders, those of Senators and Knights…

“He had control of the Public Treasury: he was supposed to render periodic accounts, but nobody was ever bold enough to demand an audit…

“…his influence on the Senate was such that they voted whatever he suggested to them–the control of public finances, the control of social behavior, and inviolacy of person…

“The Senate were anxious to vote him whatever title he would accept, short of King…”

Robert Graves, I, CLAUDIUS, (Vintage Intl., 1989) p. 26.

Sofonisba’s Legacy of Invezione Today


I’m delighted to read of Genova’s successful near-completion of the bridge that collapsed so very recently, in 2018. It gives me a feeling of optimism, literally a bridge for the future, inspiring.

I can’t resist connecting the success of this modern-day project with Sofonisba’s life of creative invention (invenzione/inventione). Sofonisba and her husband lived in Genoa from 1580 to 1615 before transferring to Sicily. During her time in Genoa, she continued to innovate, to paint high and low, and to influence artists, some of whom followed her footsteps to the Spanish court to contribute to the Escorial and the Spanish Habsburg collection. Her work and her mentoring of the next generation (the way Michelangelo mentored her) were formative to the artistic, creative, dynamic life of Genoa in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. Four hundred years later, that creativity can make your heart sing.

Sofonisba Anguissola and International Travel

Holy Family, Flight to Egypt, Sofonisba Anguissola, 1559, Bergamo Cararra

Life gave Sofonisba incredible opportunities for travel. In an era when many people barely left their hometowns, Sofonisba traveled throughout northern Italy to present her work. She sailed Genoa to Barcelona then rode through Spain to serve at the Spanish court. She sailed 6 more major voyages on the Mediterranean Sea. Her life was a virtual travel guide.

If you want some arm chair travel with historical fiction, go ahead and follow Sofonisba’s life.