Disarmed by Gregory Curtis
The Story of the Venus de Milo

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In the spring of 1820, on the Aegean island of Melos, an unsuspecting farmer was digging for marble building blocks when he unearthed the statue that would come to be known as the Venus de Milo. From the moment of its discovery a battle for possession ensued and was won, eventually, by the French. Touted by her keepers in the Louvre as the great classical find of the era, the sculpture gained instant celebrity–and yet its origins had yet to be documented or verified.

From the flurry of excitement surrounding her discovery, to the raging disputes over her authenticity, to the politics and personalities that have given rise to her mystique, Gregory Curtis has given us a riveting look at the embattled legacy of a beloved icon and a remarkable tribute to one of the world’s great works of art.

About Gregory Curtis

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Gregory Curtis was editor of Texas Monthly from 1981 until 2000. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, Fortune, Time, and Rolling Stone, among other places. A graduate of Rice University and San Francisco State College, he currently lives in Austin with his wife and four children.From the Trade Paperback edition.
Published July 18, 2012 by Vintage. 245 pages
Genres: History, Arts & Photography. Non-fiction

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Conventional wisdom had it that she could not possibly have been created during the “cruder” Hellenistic period (but she was)—and the French, says Curtis, probably destroyed evidence that contradicted their prejudices.

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Publishers Weekly

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Relating how the French returned to Melos just in time to intercept a Russian boat bearing their treasure away, Curtis dismisses the mythic "fight on the beach" in which the Venus supposedly lost her arms;

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Star Tribune

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For nearly 200 years, the Venus de Milo has inspired awe in the millions who have thronged to see her.

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