Friday, February 15, 2008

The Birth of Venus

Through The Birth of Venus, the 2003 novel by Sarah Dunant, I got the chance to view the Renaissance from a whole different perspective, that of a young would-be female artist, Alessandra Cecchi. The powerful Medicis, the fanatic Savonarola, and the bonfire of the vanities are no longer just distant historical names. I experienced their effect on the culture of the time.

Botticelli's Venus remained hidden from Allesandra and most of the world, to avoid destruction, but I now have a greater appreciation of what the art and artists of the times survived. Given the suppression of women in those days, depicted so effectively in the novel, it's also clear why there are no female Renaissance artists that are household names today.

When I have a chance to go to Florence some day, my visit will be all the richer for having read this novel.

1 comment:

Dennis said...

I hadn't heard of this novel until today, but it certainly sounds like a fascinating read.

I enjoy historical novels and have just finished one that alternates between the present (mysterious events in the life of a young archaeologist) and pre-colonial America (tumultuous events in the lives of a group of Anasazi people living in the American Southwest). The connection between the two different eras is witchcraft. Fascinating!

Dennis in Phoenix