Giovanna Pierini

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La dama con il ventaglio

book | Sep 2018
Italy → Arnoldo Mondadori Editore

She stares at the picture in front of her: did she paint it? It’s been so long. It’s a bright and sunny morning, and yet her eyes struggle to recognise the details of that painting, of that lady holding her fan.

It’s 1625 and Sofonisba Anguissola is over 90 years old. Memory is failing her, but she’s a tenacious woman and she yearns to remember the story of that painting.

Strong-willed, independent, and unconventional, Sofonisba’s life was spent between Northern Italy, Sicily, and the court in Madrid, crossing paths with figures like Orazio Lomellini, Anthony Van Dyck and the Spanish Queen Isabelle of Valois. Living at a time when a woman painter was precluded from even dreaming of a formal education and had to face society’s harsh judgement, Sofonisba was one of the first women to fight for and achieve recognition for her outstanding work.

Through a captivating voice and the atmospheric setting of the Italian courts of the time, the palaces, workshops, and sea journeys, La dama con il ventaglio shines a light on the extraordinary life of one of the most free-spirited and talented women painters of the Renaissance. 

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