Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Medici Curse by Matt Chamings

Ever since I read Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliet I have been interested in the idea of weaving art into a story. It is with this in mind that I picked up The Medici Curse by Matt Chamings and I was certainly not disappointed.

This book has alternating stories in each chapter. There is a modern day family on holiday in Florence with Maria the central character who is drawn to the painting of Alessandra. In the alternate chapters we read about Arnaldo the younger painter in Renaissance Florence who is working for Verrocchnio. Arnaldo is an apprentice and a friend to Leonardo da Vinci. Arnaldo is painting the beautiful, young Alessandra prior to her marriage to the very elderly Signor Paolo Orsini. The painting has two canvases linked by a arch of flowers which are held by the subject of each portrait.

This painting is, however, cursed and so when Maria’s father uncovers it under a rather plain landscape that he has purchased on impulse, a series of disasters linked to the curse befall this family. Woven into this story there are also references to the life and work of Leonardo da Vinci especially his experiments with flying and his study of anatomy. Leonardo is working on the portrait of Orsini.

This book is certainly a page turner filled with mystery, intrigue, love, feuds and sword fights. I would highly recommend it to keen readers in Year 6. I found myself reading this book every spare minute I could grab. The historical notes at the end only added to my enjoyment.

Read more at in these teacher notes.

1 comment:

LJ said...

Hi-- this sounds like an interesting book! And since you like books that weave art and history into a good middle-grade story, have you run across Elise Broach's books yet? You might very much enjoy SHAKESPEARE'S SECRET and MASTERPIECE. The latter book just won the E.B. White Award for 2009.