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
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Published June 13, 2013
by The Overlook Press.
Literature & Fiction, History.