After reading Oil & Marble, I decided to tack on Florence to my Europe solo trip that I hope to embark on within the next couple of years. Stephanie Storey takes us back to early 16th century Florence where Renaissance art flourished, produced by great art masters like Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo. This historical fiction centers on the real-life rivalry between the masters in oil painting (Da Vinci) and marble sculpture (Michelangelo), and how their fierce competition and respective talent in their craft led to the creation of the two most iconic works in all of history – the Mona Lisa and David. At this point in time, Da Vinci is already a wealthy well-respected artist at the peak of his career, while a young and impoverished Michaelango is at the other end of the spectrum, desperate to prove his worth in Florence and to his disapproving family.
I developed an even greater appreciation for their artwork, particularly David after reading just how much work, struggles, and hardships Michelango had to overcome in his quest to complete David. I thought Storey did a fantastic job drawing in the readers into developing an emotional connection with these two iconic historical figures, giving the story a lot of heart and soul. I also liked that she incorporated other political figures of that time into the story including Cesare Borgia and Machiavelli. (side note: I’m a big fan of Showtime’s Borgias and Netflix’s Medici: Masters of Florence). Coupled with the fact that my favorite course in school was art history, I went into the book with an already developed interest in Renaissance art. Oil & Marble is a very fun and beautiful read, and I hope you find it just as entertaining too!