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The Giant
Laura Morelli. The Scriptorium, $16.99 trade paper (362p) ISBN 978-1-942467-36-6
Historical drama and artistic dedication propel Morelli’s superb character-driven romp through Renaissance Florence (after The Painter’s Apprentice). Mediocre fresco painter Jacopo Torni has disappointed his father by taking commissions in order to pay off his gambling debts. When the city of Florence announces a competition in 1501 to sculpt a giant statue of the young biblical hero David, Jacopo writes to his childhood friend Michelangelo Buonarrati in Rome to suggest they pair up for the challenge. Michelangelo is especially keen to tackle the huge block of marble that has stood untouched for decades because no one has been up to the task of carving it. When Michelangelo decides to pursue the project without Jacopo, declaring he always works alone, Jacopo is crushed and sinks deeper into his gambling problem—and further away from his flailing art career. Drawing from history, Morelli brings to life energetic Florence and its markets, street vendors, chapels, and pageants, as well as artists Botticelli and da Vinci, and the work of Donatello, the benchmark Jacopo and Michelangelo hope to replace. Art lovers will relish Morelli’s descriptions of the artistic process and camaraderie between the famously curmudgeonly Michelangelo and the joke-telling Jacopo, whom Michelangelo nicknamed L’Indaco for his dark blue eyes. Morelli delights with this portrait of an artist in the shadow of giants. (Self-published)

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly on 11/27/2020

Release date 05/01/2020

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