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Hardcover The Birth of Venus Book

ISBN: 1400060737

ISBN13: 9781400060733

The Birth of Venus

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Format: Hardcover

Condition: Very Good

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Book Overview

Alessandra Cecchi is not quite fifteen when her father, a prosperous cloth merchant, brings a young painter back from northern Europe to decorate the chapel walls in the family's Florentine palazzo. A... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

engaging intellectually and emotionally

I adored this book on many levels. Being an art history student, and studying art in Italy, I truly enjoyed all of the references to painters, frescoes, etc. The author truly has a good grasp of this knowledge, and slips it in here and there. If a reader had no knowledge of Renaissance art, they would come away with a general understanding of how art was commissioned, and the role it played in Florence, particularly with the Medici family. Also, the philosophical changes in those times, that is, the return to Classical art and teachings, is highlighted. It is starkly contrasted with the conservative religious (Catholic) movement and the role of Savanarola (sp?), the charismatic Dominican monk that put the fear of God into the city. I find this book very applicable to this day and age in America--a time when the religious right is playing a bigger role in government. Read this along with "The Kite Runner" and see for yourself what a dangerous road we may be traveling down...

Haunting......Real History!

If you want authentic history in a fictional setting, this is for you. Dunant recreates the Florence, Italy, of Savonorola's dominance and peoples it with characters so believable and brought to life that you "live" that period in time. Lacking in information on the Renaissance, one would struggle w/ the refererences to it. However, that does not detract from the plot......which involves the reader immediately. The book is a page-turner; it can't be put down. And, once the last page has been turned, it lingers in the memory. One ponders the fate of the main characters, the choices which they made. Are there happy endings? Well.....it's up to you. This is a book to cherish for it's insights into an historical period and the individuals who peopled it.

A Novel to Savor

Alessandra Cecchi is a young woman born into the Renaissance world of Florentine, Italy. The world of the Medici and Savonarola. Sarah Dunant has created a character of fiction but Alessandra breathes life and lives so fully it is as if the reader has a time machine to that long ago place. Dunant's words are golden and multi-hued painting the reader a vivid, living picture of the people of Florence. The book tells of Alessandra and her family. Her father is a cloth merchant. Her mother is a woman of grace and wisdom. She has two brothers, who are different from each other and from Alessandra. She has an older sister, but Alessandra is at odds with her siblings. She is a woman who longs to draw and paint in a city that celebrated learning, art and beauty until the rigorous religious fanaticism of Savonarola took over. A painter comes to paint the Cecchi family's chapel and there is a strange connection between Alessandra and the painter. Their lives move through a world of secrets and danger and the reader never wants the story to end. This is a beautiful, brilliantly constructed book to savor and to be read over and over.

Beautiful Book

Dunant has created a masterpiece. The narrative brings Renaissance Florence to life. The main character Alessandra is wonderfully drawn; the masterful writing evokes empathy for most of the main characters, particularly Christoforo and the Painter. Deeply moving glimpse of a key period in world history.

Brings Florence to life...

Sarah Dunant has created, quite simply, a beautiful and engaging novel about art and Florence. At its heart, The Birth of Venus is a story of longing and love, but the multilayered poltical, religious and familial storylines bring a richness to the reader that no ordinary romantic story could possibly deliver. Add to that a subtle discourse of gender roles and some history of the Florentine art movement and The Birth of Venus is a sure winner. Alessandra is the youngest daughter of a well-heeled family in Medici Florence of the late fifteenth century. She has a passion for learning (typically not encouraged in women of the time), a blossoming artistic talent and no interest in fulfilling her typical role and getting married. She just wants to be free of society's constraints so she can paint.Then, when a young and reticent painter arrives to paint the frescoes on her family's chapel, her life begins to change irrevocably. Against the backdrop of a Florence where religious fundamentalism and a brutal crackdown on art and luxury are changing the face of the city, Alessandra finds herself caught between her own interests and society's expectations.With an extraordinary sense of character and a writing style that brings and immediacy, vibrancy and life to Florence, Sarah Dunant has penned a truly remarkable novel that should stand for years as the premier novel of Florence and art. The Birth of Venus is a fun, engaging and wonderful novel. Highly recommended for fans of history, art, Italy or human drama.
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