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Book Review

Book: The Girl with the Botticelli Eyes
Author: Herbert Lieberman
Published: August, 1996
Publisher: St. Martins Press

available at

Synopsis: Mark Manship, curator of Renaissance Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, is traveling Europe in search of several missing sketches to include in his grand Botticelli exhibition, on which he has been working for several years. Meanwhile, several priceless Botticelli paintings are torn to shreds by a violent madman. His encounter with Isobel Cattaneo, the female descendent of Botticelliís model not only makes him aware of what he is lacking in his life but places her in grave danger from an Italian fascist, Borghini, with his own grisly reasons for coveting the sketches.

Editorís Review: This psychological thriller is a bit heavy on gruesomeness and a bit short on character development. The book nevertheless gives the reader a fascinating view of the travails of an art curator from his purchases at auction houses to the planning of a spectacular exhibit. And an insiderís view of office politics along with Manshipís accompanying frustrations completes the sketch. Libermanís characterization of Borghiniís leanings is a little off target at times Ė for example, his feeling of kinship with Savonarola seems misplaced since the 15th century monk would not have approved of Botticelliís paganistic paintings. But unlike with Manship and Cattaneo, Lieberman provides us with a far deeper study of Borghini, despite the fact that he is not the main character. Although I found Borghiniís unstable personality to be somewhat over-the-top and predictable, if you enjoy that sort of thing, thereís plenty of it here. But I didnít find myself on the edge of my seat or find my spine tingling. Overall, the writing style didnít allow me sufficient depth and originality to become fascinated but just the same, The Girl with the Botticelli Eyes is a pleasant read that plunges you into the world of art history and its modern day machinations.

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Diana Blake is a professional artist and art history enthusiast. Her fascination with art history began when she encountered European art firsthand during several trips abroad as a young adult. As she began to compose a portfolio for her own art career, she called upon what she had seen in Europe and extended her knowledge to other styles of art through profuse reading and exhaustive research. As a result, Diana has written more than one hundred articles in which she delves into a variety of art history topics and she has compiled a list of links that she believes to be invaluable for art history enthusiasts. In addition, she also reviews books and movies on the topic of art history and has assembled an extensive list of online stores that sell books, movies and gift items related to art history.
   You can see Diana's own artwork by visiting her site at