Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Julia Justiss | History ReFreshed: Tapestry of Art and Scandal
Author Guest / January 16, 2019

Something about the richness and vibrant color of the brocade gowns of the Italian Renaissance calls up to me the decorations of the winter season—bright golds, reds, purples and candlelight glowing against the dark of winter.  So for this New Year’s column, we will look at several works of historical fiction that illuminate the art and politics of Medici Florence and Borgia Rome. We begin with BOTTICELLI’S MUSE by Dorah Blume.  Drawing upon much of what is known about the artist’s life, Blume presents the political and artistic cosmos that is Renaissance Florence through the focus of one of history’s most compelling painters, Sandro Botticelli.  While under the patronage of Piero Medici, during a visit to his sister at her convent, Sandro meets and falls in love with Floriana, a Jewish weaver who will be the inspiration for his masterpiece La Primavera. But disruptive forces are at work, the radical priest Savonarola exhorting not just against Jews, but decrying books, art and the Medici rulers themselves.  Deftly handling a large cast of characters, including notables Lorenzo Medici and Lucrezia Borgia, Blume’s story draws out the heart of Florence during one of its most tumultuous periods. The Savonarola movement also plays…