The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Sunday, May 27, 2018

Author Lynn Cullen Changes Book on Finding Portrait
The story plumbs the life of Italian-born Sofonisba Anguissola, who gave up her coveted apprenticeship with Michelangelo after a romantic tryst with another artist threatened to ruin her family.

NEW YORK, NY (REUTERS).- Author Lynn Cullen began writing her latest novel about a despised Spanish king but her discovery of a mysterious portrait changed everything.

Cullen was early in her research about Felipe II of Spain (1527-1598) when she stumbled across a painting of a woman in a fur wrap. The portrait, painted by a barely known female artist, was the inspiration for her new book "The Creation of Eve."

The story plumbs the life of Italian-born Sofonisba Anguissola, who gave up her coveted apprenticeship with Michelangelo after a romantic tryst with another artist threatened to ruin her family. Fleeing possible censure, she accepted a position teaching painting to Spain's teenage queen, Elisabeth.

Cullen, who is known for her children's books based on historical European figures such as Marie Antoinette, spoke with Reuters about how research can dramatically alter the course of a book and her fascination with the fickleness of human character.

The book is Cullen's first adult fiction.

Q: Why did you choose Sofonisba Anguissola as your subject?

A: "The book started out three years earlier being a mystery about whether Felipe was a good guy a bad guy ... That fell apart once I did research. He turned out to be a nice guy. He had just been vilified throughout history, starting with the Dutch and the English who were his enemies.

"Pretty early into the research, I saw a picture of the lady in the fur wrap ... I read that she'd painted this painting and she was a lady-in-waiting to the queen. You have to be completely open and let things surprise you and follow that."
Q: What might surprise readers about Sofonisba?

A: "I look at Sofi as an unreliable narrator. That's one of the big points of the book -- you see things, you interpret it in your way, but it might be the wrong way.

"I was heavily influenced by "Wuthering Heights" because there's an unreliable narrator in that. I read it several times as I was writing this book. I love the idea that as a reader you're fed information, just as in real life. You get certain information and you can only process what you see, but there might be other things to it.

"I like for the reader to be surprised. I like to be surprised. My favorite book is "Heat Wave" by Penelope Lively. I am drawn to these books where things are not as they appear."

Q: What did you carry over from your first idea?

A: "In this case, it was exploring the idea of people judging others by appearances, and not really being able to understand each others' hearts.

"I'm also fascinated that people you're super close to, your own husband, your sister, you can't really know their thoughts."

Q: What's the meaning of your title?

A: "It comes from the Sistine Chapel. In the beginning (of the book) Sofonisba is touring the Sistine Chapel and she sees "The Creation of Adam" -- the painting we all know so well, with God reaching out. It's such a powerful painting.

"And then next to that, which no one notices, is "The Creation of Eve." It's a very subdued picture. My problem with it, and Sofonisba's problem with it, is that Eve is so pale.

"One of the tricks used by art to catch a viewer's eye, is putting the darkest dark of the painting next to the lightest light and the eye immediately goes there first.

"(On the Sistine Chapel ceiling) the darkest dark and the lightest light lead you right to Adam. I was bothered by the neglect of Eve. In the book, Eve becomes symbolic of all women trying to find themselves."

Q: How did you conduct your research?

A: "I've gone to Spain about five times now. I go to smell the air and eat that food. That's fun. You just have to go to a place and be where those people were. It's very moving -- and it makes a great vacation."

(Reporting by Chelsea Emery; Editing by Patricia Reaney)

New York | Lynn Cullen | "The Creation of Eve" |

Today's News

June 3, 2010

Jeff Koons Unveils and Signs His Psychedelic BMW Art Car at the Centre Pompidou in Paris

Artists with African Roots Exhibit at the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin

Getty Museum Puts Monumental Red-Figure Krater on View

Painting by Corot Purchased by Musée d'Art et d'Histoire in Geneva

MoMA Announces Exhibition of Abstract Expressionist Works

Marlborough Opens Exhibition of Works that Evoke Organic Forms

Nassau County Museum of Art Examines the Romantic Fascination of the Sea

Previously Unseen U2, Beatles, and Rolling Stones Photographs Up for Sale

Allegra LaViola Gallery Opens Show with Sculptural Works Attached to the Wall

Priska C. Juschka Fine Art Opens First Solo Exhibition by Samuel T. Adams

Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery Showcases a Wide-Ranging Body of Work

Rare 215 Year-Old Gold $10 Eagle Brings $117,000 at Inaugural Auction

Friedman Benda Presents Work by Post-War and Emerging Artists

7th Annual Edinburgh Art Festival Programme Unveiled

Guggenheim Study Reveals Importance of Education in Development of Problem-Solving Skills and Creativity

Author Lynn Cullen Changes Book on Finding Portrait

Tiffany Studios, Contemporary Glass, and Diego Giacometti Work Highlights Bonhams' 20th Century Sale

Remains of Mexican Independence Heroes Undergo Analyses

Facing the Artist: Portraits by John Jonas Gruen Opens at the Whitney

Chicago Tribune Begins Digitizing and Selling Archive Photographs

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- New Rembrandt found after being bought at London auction

2.- Exhibition at Fotohof focuses on groups in society who are at risk of marginalisation

3.- John Brennan collection of Rock n Roll memorabilia offered at RR Auction

4.- A Bob Dylan guitar fetches $495,000 at auction

5.- Exhibition in San Francisco focuses on the latter half of René Magritte's career

6.- 'Mad' king Ludwig II of Bavaria lost gift to composer Richard Wagner gets rare show

7.- New Royal Academy of Arts opens in celebration of its 250th anniversary

8.- Researchers uncover Anne Frank's 'dirty jokes'in her diary

9.- New York art sales near $3 billion in two weeks as uber-rich hunt trophies

10.- Berlin's Ethnological Museum returns grave-plundered artefacts to Alaska

Related Stories

Invisible Exports announces the New York solo debut of work and objects by Bob Mizer

Six weeks after, New York City artists seek help to scrub away superstorm Sandy's stains

Just discovered Scharl Portrait of Einstein up for sale for first time

New York State Museum exhibits historic images from Burns archives

La Dolce Vita: 1950-1960. Stars and Celebrities in the Italian Fifties at Eataly New York

The Art of Playboy, Gil Elvgren, Golden Age greats headline Fall New York illustration art auction

Costa Rica reclaims artifacts from the prestigious Brooklyn Museum in New York

Doyle New York to auction the Arthur Rothstein photograph collection in October

New study identifies pine bush as "Stop Over" for migrating birds

Chinese Gilt-Bronze Bell achieves $482,500 at Doyle New York's Asian works of art sale

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful