Friday, February 5, 2010
In a nutshell:
This is historical fiction that takes place in the time of -you guessed it, Leonardo DaVinci. It is told from the viewpoint of two sisters, Isabella and Beatrice Este. Beatrice become the Duchess of Milan through marrying the famous & powerful Duke of Milan-Il Moro. Isabella become the wife of Francesco Gonzaga and princess of neighboring Mantua. Political tug of war in Northern Italy is the crux of this story, told through these two sisters, who like many sisters, love yet compete with each other. Through all this political unease are tales of love, jealousy, loss, and art. In the middle of all this is Leonardo DaVinci-the symbol of enlightenment and intelligence in the Renaissance. The Duke was a major patron of Leonardo and through all this drama are birthed Leonardo's masterpieces. He plays the muse & jester through this whole story while creating the masterpieces we know of today.
This is truly an engrossing story. I really enjoyed the portrayal of DaVinci. Also, the relationship between Beatrice and Isabella was complex and developed, as was Beatrice's relationship with her husband, the Duke of Milan. After reading this book, I found myself wanting to look through some art history books to review some of DaVinci's pieces that were described in the book.