Crying Out To Be Told!

Kelly Evans Author Interview

Unfinished: The Inspired Life of Elisabetta Sirani follows a young female artist from the 17th century and the obstacles she had to overcome to show her work. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I write historical fiction novels and was interested in expanding from the Anglo Saxon period. I studied art history and worked at one of the largest museums in the world, The Victoria and Albert Museum in London, England and was always taught about the men, the focus on the male artist, particularly during the Renaissance. I did my own research and discovered so many amazing female artists. Elisabetta’s tragic story was crying out to be told!

There is a lot of art history in this book. What research did you do for this novel to get it right?

Other than my background in art history and my museum work, I’ve continued my art studies (including intensive study of Nazi art repatriations, a particular interest of mine) throughout my life. I was fortunate when the author of THE book about Elisabetta Sirani replied to one of my emails and graciously replied to my queries. Oh, and I also relied on her book, the absolute bible of Sirani’s life. I also researched the art palettes of the time, which colours and pigments were available and at what cost, and studied paint techniques, brush making, paper available at the time (FYI, the town of Fabriano is on my list of places to visit! Mentioned in my novel, they made and still make paper purchased by Michaelangelo!), and the techniques used for making and mixing paints. This may seem excessive but I feel I have a responsibility to get the details correct.

Did you find anything in your research of this story that surprised you?

The vehemence with which men at the time defended their belief that women’s brains weren’t capable of original composition and thought. I had an inkling but wow, it shocked me.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

My next novel is about Caterina Sforza, kick-ass ruler from fifteenth-century Italy. Vilified by history, her life has been completely misunderstood and I plan on changing a few minds!

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

They called her La Maestra.

Elisabetta Sirani was a talented and prolific artist in Seventeenth Century Italy. Trained by her father, she was running his studio by the time she was sixteen and earned her first official commission the following year. Over her short career she produced more than 200 paintings, etchings, and prints, had patrons that included royalty and noble Italian families, and founded one of the first art schools in Europe exclusively for women. When she died aged only 27 of a mysterious ailment, all of Bologna mourned.

Her fame has been eclipsed by her male counterparts, and her work often claimed as theirs. Doubted, scorned, admired, copied, and misunderstood, this is her story.

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Posted on March 14, 2022, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.


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