Title: I Am Venus by Barbara Mujica
Published June 13, 2013; Overlook Hardcover
Genre: historical novel
I know Velasquez didn't paint Venus in Italy, of course, but I bite my tongue. How can I tell her I know for certain the model is not Italian and is not the mother of Velazaquez's son? (ch. 15)My comments: Read this book for fascinating information on the life and work of the 17th century Spanish painter Velazquez - his rise to fame at court and the history behind his paintings. The painting I know best is his Las Meninas or The Maids of Honor which features the Infanta, daughter of the King and Queen of Spain.
I Am Venus surrounds the question of the model for Velazquez's other famous painting, the Rokeby Venus, the painting shown on the cover of this book. Mujica writes about the woman, the real model, whom she has created for the purposes of her fiction.
Culturally rich, and a good mix of fact and fiction, I enjoyed the book for it's detail that evokes the time, the painter, and the model. It will appeal to lovers of art as well as those who enjoy the craft of historical fiction.
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Barbara Mujica is a novelist, short-story writer, essayist and professor of Spanish at Georgetown University. I Am Venus explores the identity of the model for the famous Rokeby Venus, the only extant female nude of seventeenth-century Spanish painter Diego de Velázquez. Her previous books include Frida, based on Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, and Sister Teresa, about the life of Saint Teresa de Avila.
Mujica has won numerous prizes for her stories, and writes extensively on Spanish literature. Please visit www.barbaramujica.com.
Thanks to TLC Book Tours and the author for a review copy of this book.