Meet a true Renaissance tiger mom: an interview with art historian Elizabeth Lev

Historians in the News

Looking to meet a fascinating woman? Elizabeth Lev, an American art historian who lives in Rome, is ready to make an introduction. She’s a Renaissance countess named Caterina, and Lev’s intimate portrait of her, The Tigress of Forli: Renaissance Italy’s Most Courageous and Notorious Countess, Caterina Riario Sforza de’ Medici, is as riveting as any novel. But Sforza is no fictional creation. Rather, she is a woman of culture and politics who left one Signor Machiavelli none too happy and whose likeness can be found in the Sistine Chapel. Lev talked to National Review Online’s Kathryn Jean Lopez about her dear friend, whom she’d love for you to get to know. (She’ll explain, and leave you wanting more.)

KATHRYN JEAN LOPEZ: You clearly love Caterina Sforza. What’s the attraction? 

ELIZABETH LEV: She was a strong, creative woman in a world where those traits were seen only as the attributes of men. She was a doer, not a spectator, in the thrilling age of the Renaissance. But mostly she was a woman who could overcome fear, both of her enemies and of her own weaknesses. Oh, and that she was a successful single mother is kind of cool too....

comments powered by Disqus