“This world war was not the first tragedy to strike mankind and it would not be the last, but none of them had been able to destroy humanity’s appreciation for beauty.”
The Night Portrait by Laura Morelli is the story about a woman with resolve to be more than just a mistress. She is determined not to be thrown out with the trash once her novelty wore off. She seeks validation and longs to be a valued member in society. Her name is Cecilia Gallerani, subject of Da Vinci’s famous portrait, The Lady with an Ermine.
This book is also about a painter who wants to be more than just a painter. He longs to be someone important and invaluable to those in power. He finds himself working as a court painter when commissioned to paint the portrait of the Duke’s mistress.
Centuries later, this book is about a woman with a passion for art. She spends her days happily restoring art and bringing the pieces back to their former glory. That is, until the Nazis come knocking and she finds herself in the belly of the beast. She can’t simply stand by and watch all the atrocities of her new employers, so she sets out to do anything in her power to help the rebellion cause- to be important.
Finally this book is about an American soldier with an artistic gift, who struggles to not lose sight of all the beauty our world has to offer.
This is the story of a single painting.
When I was completing my under grad in Art History, I remember a professor comparing study- ing art to peeling an onion. You need to keeping peeling back layer after layer to get to the core. That analogy ran through my mind non stop while I was reading The Night Portrait. Morelli has brilliantly crafted a piece of art as she jumps back and forth between the 15th century, when Leonardo Da Vinci is commissioned to paint what would become one of his most famous portraits, and World Word 2, when art lovers put their lives on the line to keep these invaluable pieces of art out of the hands of the Nazis. This is the perfect book for anyone who wants to cozy up and get lost in a great work of art.