Botticelli’s Secret: The Lost Drawings and the Rediscovery of the Renaissance, will be published on October 25, 2022. A true historical “detective story” full of insight about how we look at art―and the artists and eras that produced it. Some 500 years ago, Sandro Botticelli, a painter of humble origin, created work of unearthly beauty. An intimate associate of Florence’s unofficial rulers, the Medici, he was commissioned by a member of their family to execute a near-impossible project: to illustrate all 100 cantos of The Divine Comedy by the city’s greatest poet, Dante Alighieri.
A powerful encounter between poet and artist, sacred and secular, earthly and evanescent, these drawings produced a wealth of stunning images but were never finished. Botticelli declined into poverty and obscurity, and his illustrations went missing for 400 years. The nineteenth-century rediscovery of Botticelli’s Dante drawings brought scholars to their knees: this work embodied everything the Renaissance had come to mean. Today, Botticelli’s Primavera adorns household objects of every kind. This book is essential to explain not only how and why this artist became iconic, but why we need still need his work―and the spirit of the Renaissance―today.
Joseph Luzzi received his Ph.D. from Yale University and is a Professor of Comparative Literature and Faculty Member in Italian Studies at Bard College, where he has taught since 2002 after being a visiting faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania. A frequent contributor to publications including the New York Times, TLS, and Chronicle of Higher Education, he is the author of 5 books, including "My Two Italies," a New York Times Editors' Choice selection and "In a Dark Wood: What Dante Taught Me About Grief, Healing, and the Mysteries of Love," a Vanity Fair “Must-Read” selection. His work has been translated into multiple languages and his many awards include a Yale College Teaching Prize, Dante Society of America Essay Prize, and Wallace Fellowship at Villa I Tatti, Harvard's Center for Italian Renaissance Studies. In 2017 he was named Cittadino Onorario/Honorary Citizen in Acri, Calabria, his Italian parents' birthplace. His next book is "Botticelli's Secret: The Lost Drawings and the Rediscovery of the Renaissance," which will be published by W. W. Norton. Professor Luzzi is the founder of the Virtual Book Club, an online community of readers dedicated to exploring some of the best books ever written. Learn more at JosephLuzzi.com.
This conversation is suitable for all ages.
60 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.