David

Mary Hoffman. Bloomsbury, $17.99 (272p) ISBN 978-1- 59990-700-0
This lush historical novel commences in 1501 in Florence and imagines the life of the model for Michelangelo’s statue of David, breathing life into the art and politics of this iconic work. The exquisitely handsome narrator, Gabriele, a stone- mason, moves to Florence at 18 from the country to live with his “milk-brother” (Gabriele’s mother nursed them both), the artist Michelangelo. Hoffman (the Stravaganza series) stages Gabriele not only as an observer of the Florence art scene but also at the center of the political struggle between factions supporting a Florentine republic and nobles who are eager to restore the Medici dynasty. These political machinations and Gabriele’s romantic misadventures offer a compelling look at this period, though it is his relationship with Michelangelo and the impact of the statue that provide the narrative’s most powerful elements. Readers may be surprised to learn the political significance of the David, which many interpreted as a republican symbol and which inspired violence. Leonardo da Vinci and his Mona Lisa make a cameo appearance, as well, offering another perspective on the art of the Renaissance. Ages 14–up. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/12/2011
Release date: 10/01/2011
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