Writing about the lives of famous secular women was undoubtedly a risky undertaking for a monk in the eighteenth century. This may explain why Fray Joao de San Pedro used the pseudonym “Damiao de Froes Perym” for his publication entitled Theatro heroino: Abecedario historico, e catalogo das mulheres illustres em armas, letras, acçoens heroicas e artes libera. Josefa d’Ayala is justifiably included in Froes Perym’s catalogue of illustrious women since she was, and still is, the best-known artist of seventeenth-century Portugal. An intriguing and somewhat puzzling aspect of the Ayala life story is that the artist is said to have been invited to serve the Queen at the Portuguese court, but despite the advantages of such a position, evidently turned it down. One also wonders if the public reaction to and royal demands on Ayala as a painterly “curiosity,” noted twice by the biographer, might have been uncongenial to her apparently introspective nature.