Reading Group Questions

In the novel, what inspires Sofonisba’s choice to pursue portraiture?

Sofonisba’s father Amilcare is supportive of her ambitions. What is his motivation?

What does her tutor Marco represent?

How does her art kit get her into trouble? How does it help her?

At the King’s court, does either her gender or her profession limit her reputation? Does her gender or profession assist her reputation?

The Plague of Burgos in 1565 decimates the town but then provides the cardinal a chance at redemption. Is it realistic the priest would regret his conduct toward the two individuals he addresses in his letters?

What does the painting Lady in Ermine represent?

What element appears in the first and last scenes?

What was Sofonisba’s greatest life challenge?

Would Sofonisba have been more successful if she were a man?

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