Sofonisba, Portraits of the Soul, Chiara Montani

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Sofonisba. Portraits of the Soul
Set in 16th century Europe, this is the story of a brave, passionate and truly modern woman, in love with art and life itself.
December 1579. On the deck of a galley a woman stands staring into the darkness. She is alone, bewildered and with no fight left in her. Even she doesn’t know what it is that draws her to the dark swirl of the waves beneath the keel, but she can’t help leaning out towards it. A jolt, a fall and a hand stretching out to save her…
This is where the journey starts as events unfold in the adventurous life of Sofonisba Anguissola, the first female artist to challenge the conventions of the time and achieve international fame in a struggle to assert her role and her identity.
Sofonisba’s travels take her from the town where she was born, Cremona, in Lombardy, at that time dominated by the Spaniards, to the oppressive atmosphere of the court in Madrid under Felipe II, then to Sicily under the viceroys, in a fascinating mix of artists’ colours with a backdrop of history, drama, intrigue, adventure and romance.
The fresco is painted through Sofonisba’s sensitive gaze, capable of capturing the human soul and possessing freedom of thought, inevitably destined to clash with the prejudices of her time.
Will she be able to tackle the challenges that life throws at her all the time and finally summon the courage to claim the right to be the master of her own destiny?
History, art, beauty and emotion run through the pages of this historical novel which traces the unforgettable figure of a fascinating heroine who, like Artemisia Gentileschi, was destined to occupy a place of honour among the great women in art history.

The book in Italian was among the 10 finalists of the Literary International Independent Prize 2016 – Section unpublished
Author bio
Chiara Montani studied Architecture at the Polytechnic University in Milan. She has worked in design, graphics and art, exploring a variety of techniques and materials and taking part in exhibitions in Italy and elsewhere. Specialized in art therapy, she has held workshops for a number of years on the therapeutic potential of the creative process.
Her long experience in the artistic field merges with her passion for literature to produce narratives where art intertwines closely with the plot, while descriptions of paintings become tools to explore characters, relationships and moods.
One day, an artist friend dedicated these words to her: “The more you paint, the more a narrative fabric of words emerges; the more you produce narration, the denser and more fluid become the images”.
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