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Auteur: Sarah Dunant
Uitgever: Groothandel
  • Engelstalig
  • 412 pagina's
  • New ed
  • 9781844080359
  • juni 2003
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Alessandra is not quite fifteen when her prosperous merchant father brings a young painter back with him from Holland to adorn the walls of the new family chapel. She is fascinated by his talents and envious of his abilities and opportunities to paint to the glory of God. Soon her love of art and her lively independence are luring her into closer involvement with all sorts of taboo areas of life. On excursions into the streets of night-time Florence she observes a terrible evil stalking the city and witnesses the rise of the fiery young priest, Savanarola, who has set out to rid the city of vice, richness, even art itself. Alessandra must make crucial decisions about the shape of her adult life, as Florence itself must choose between the old ways of the luxury-loving Medicis and the asceticism of Savanorola. And through it all, there is the painter, whose love will change everything.


The Birth of Venus is all the more fascinating a historical novel for the author's inability to make up her mind what it is about. Is it a novel about the limited choices available to a woman with talent in Renaissance Florence--marriage or the convent? Or is it a novel about the choices you make to survive in a totalitarian society? As Savonarola takes Florence closer and closer to being an ascetic theocracy, Alessandra, her gay brother and his lover whom she has married for mutual protection find themselves in more and more peril. It could also be a detective story--Allesandra is in love with a painter whose religious mania and fascination with the body makes him a plausible suspect for a series of killings and dismemberments. Some historical novels wear their research too heavily--Dunant's is light, fluent and pacy, but her fascination with the possibilities revealed by research leaves her failing to make choices. The Birth of Venus is a highly intelligent novel kept from incoherence mostly by the intensely imagined Alessandra, through whose eyes we see the tragic end of a key moment in human culture and whose lively sensibility constantly sparks ideas about art an #NAME? 'Dunant throws out ideas about sex, art and the divine with Renaissance-style sprezzatura' The INDEPENDENT 'No one should visit Tuscany this summer without this book. It is richly textured, and driven by a thrillerish fever' The TIMES 'Dunant makes the art and philosophy of the period look new and dangerous again'

Reviews Birth of Venus, the

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  • Power and Glory
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    A religious extremist with the highest political power. A deadly plague. A rich nation state with barbarian enemies outside and moral corruption within.

    No, this is not a contemporary novel. This work takes place in 16th century Florence, when the monk Savonarola has toppled the Medicis from power. It's a tribute to the writer that the power struggles--between men and women, between culture and politics, between conformists and non-conformists--feel fresh and current.

    This is the story of Alessandra Cecchi, aspiring artist and daughter of a wealthy merchant. The story begins when she is 14 and ends with her death as nun in an unorthodox convent. In between we have a panoramic view of the beginnings of the Renaissance, as seen from the point of view of the disempowered.

    This is a well-written story of history through the eyes of a woman. It is also a tribute to the city of Florence and most of all a novel about art and the love of art. There are some surprises in the plot. Most of all there is a thorough knowledge and a passion for the subject matter.

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  • mooie historische roman

    Erg mooi boek. De sfeer van Florence in de vijftiende eeuw wordt hierin mooi beschreven. Tegen de achtergrond van de veranderingen van Florence in de 15e eeuw beschrijft de dochter van een familie haar eigen relaties en die van & met haar familie. Ik vond het een mooie historische roman. Ik heb het in ene keer uitgelezen.

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  • Heerlijk boek

    Een heerlijk boek over Florence in de vijftiende eeuw. Vol verrassingen en moeilijk om neer te leggen als je eenmaal gestart bent met lezen.

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Sarah Dunant
Overige betrokkenen
Jenny Sterlin
Oorspronkelijke titel
The Birth of Venus
30x198x127 mm
339,00 gram
juni 2003

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