Lady in Ermine by Donna Digiuseppe

Rating: 3/5

What It’s About:

Stroke by stroke, color by color, the past comes alive as a young woman in Lombardy, Italy trains to paint with the masters.

Will her ambition be too much for them? Or will she secure her place in the world of Renaissance art, despite them?

As Sofonisba struggles to make her name, the Spanish empire invades Italy.
With Michelangelo as her mentor and her father as her champion, Sofonisba dreams of painting the Spanish King.

In this novel of Royal intrigue and artistic toil, we see the soul of the painter come alive. We watch as Sofonisba struggles to realize her dreams against the backdrop of patriarchal Europe. When Royal tragedy unfolds, we learn the true strength of our heroine.

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The Review

Lady in Ermine was a pleasant historical fiction. It wasn’t mind blowing, but there were several things that I rather enjoyed while reading. Historical fiction books about art or artists are always something that I enjoy to read and I usually learn new things about the topic. That was exactly the case for this book. It introduced me to a new artist, Sofonisba Anguissola (learn more about her here) and the topic of female artists during the Renaissance. I found this article about female Renaissance artists very insightful. I don’t remember learning about any of them in my art history courses, so it was exciting to gain some new knowledge.

Another thing that I enjoyed was the descriptions of Anguissola’s art work and the symbolism behind them. It’s interesting to consider the artist’s thought processes for planning and executing their art work. Even though Lady in Ermine was fiction, I enjoyed thinking about her art in this way. When the book would get to a part that talked about a specific piece, I would look it up online so I can could see and consider those thoughts for myself.

I was also excited that Michelangelo made a small cameo because one of my favorite historical fiction books was about him and his creation of David. You can read my review on this book here. The other fun part of this book is that there are many real life characters in the story that Anguissola painted portraits of. It was fun to read about them in the story and go online to learn about their actual history while looking at their portraits!

If you are interested in other fiction about women working on careers in male dominated fields, you might also like these books below:

Have you read this book? I’d love to hear what you thought!

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