I am Venus by Barbara Mujica
A Novel

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 1 Critic Review

Mujica’s prose is vigorous and intense, and the story is paradoxically both dark and illuminating.


In this breathtaking historical novel by the acclaimed author of the bestselling Frida, Bárbara Mujica reimagines the dramatic life and loves of the Baroque Spanish painter Diego Velázquez. Narrated by the mysterious model who posed for The Toilet of Venus, his only surviving female nude, I Am Venus is the riveting account of a great artist’s rise to prominence, set against the backdrop of political turmoil and romantic scandal.

The year is 1619, and Diego Velázquez is a rising star at an art academy in Seville run by his father-in-law. But even as his young wife builds him a family, the painter yearns for a larger canvas, and soon his ambition lands him at the court of King Philip IV, where he quickly gains prominence, just as Spain is plunged into military defeat and domestic chaos.

But as he gains nobility and privilege, Velázquez encounters the sinful decadence that defines the regime. At the heart of this most conservative country, its ruling class breaks every rule that the masses must obey. As he finds himself torn between loyalty to family and the easy seductions of power, Velázquez decides to take on his riskiest painting yet, which could, in a stroke, land him in the claws of the Inquisition.

A sweeping story of scandal and passion, and a vivid recreation of a corrupt kingdom on the brink of collapse, I Am Venus is a thrilling novel that brings to life the public and private worlds of Spain’s greatest painter.

About Barbara Mujica

See more books from this Author
Bárbara Mujica is a novelist, short-story writer, critic, and professor at Georgetown University. She is the author of acclaimed novels Sister Teresa and Frida, also published by Overlook. Twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize, she has won numerous awards. Her essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and other newspapers. She lives in Bethesda, Maryland.
Published June 13, 2013 by The Overlook Press. 304 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, History. Fiction
Add Critic Review

Critic reviews for I am Venus
All: 1 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 0


on Apr 16 2013

Mujica’s prose is vigorous and intense, and the story is paradoxically both dark and illuminating.

Read Full Review of I am Venus: A Novel | See more reviews from Kirkus

Reader Rating for I am Venus

An aggregated and normalized score based on 8 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes

Rate this book!

Add Review