5.0 3
by Mary Hoffman

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Michelangelo's statue, David, is famous around the world. Millions flock to Italy every year to admire the physical perfection of the young man captured within the marble. But the identity of the model has never been known . . . until now.

In this epic tale, acclaimed author Mary Hoffman imagines the story of Gabriele, a naive but incredibly handsome

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Michelangelo's statue, David, is famous around the world. Millions flock to Italy every year to admire the physical perfection of the young man captured within the marble. But the identity of the model has never been known . . . until now.

In this epic tale, acclaimed author Mary Hoffman imagines the story of Gabriele, a naive but incredibly handsome young man who is hired as Michelangelo's model, only to find himself drawn into a world of spies, political treachery, and murder. Set against the vibrant backdrop of Florence in its most turbulent times, this rich, colorful, thrilling tale gives life to one of the world's greatest masterpieces.

Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Hilary Crew
In 1501, a handsome young man, Gabriele, leaves his home and sweetheart Rosalie to find sculptor Angelo, his "milk-brother." From the first day of his arrival, Gabriele's physique attracts attention: he is seduced by a young widow, Clarice, with whom he has an affair (and a son), until she remarries, and Angelo decides Gabriele will be the model for his statue of David. As Angelo wrests Gabriele's likeness from an abandoned block of marble, Gabriele aligns himself with frateschi, supporters of the republic and followers of the martyred monk, Savonarola, and agrees to spy on the compagnacci, who are plotting to bring the Medici family back into power. In a plot full of twists and turns, a naive Gabriele lives dangerously in his feigned role as a Medicean. His affair with a young woman, Grazia, is conducted in the house of a Medici follower where he works as a model; he balks at his orders to assassinate a Medici cardinal and is forced to flee Florence when he is accused of murder. In this impeccably researched historical novel, Hoffman provides an understanding of the political turmoil during the years Michelangelo worked on the magnificent statue that was viewed as a symbol of the republic. Renaissance Florence is brought to life as Gabriele describes streets, architecture, and art and meets Leonardo da Vinci. Above all, Hoffman creates a passionate, likeable risk-taker and blends his story seamlessly with the creation and reception of Michelangelo's statue. A glossary and historical note are provided. Reviewer: Hilary Crew
Children's Literature - Claudia Mills
The David of the title is none other than Michelangelo's immortal statue. Acclaimed for her Stravanganza series also set against the backdrop of historic Italy, Hoffman here spins a tale about the (imaginary) character of the great sculptor's "milk brother" (nursed by the same mother), who comes to Florence as a devastatingly handsome eighteen-year-old stone cutter and finds himself posing for the most famous statue of the Renaissance. Upon his arrival in a city torn by political warfare between followers of the aristocratic Medicis and the republican adherents of the fanatical friar Savonarola; Gabriele is drawn into dangerous political intrigue despite his lack of any strong political convictions, just as his drop-dead gorgeousness draws him into compromising sexual liaisons despite his promises to innocent Rosalia in his home village. When the newly displayed statue suffers violent attack as a seeming symbol of resistance to authority, Gabriele must struggle to save himself from his web of political and amorous entanglements, and more important, to save one of the greatest works of art ever created. It is daunting to sort out Hoffman's unwieldy cast of characters and figure out the complicated political machinations of the time: even Gabriele confesses to repeated bafflement regarding shifting political loyalties. But it is thrilling to watch Michelangelo at work in his studio, with a visit to Leonardo's studio (as he is painting the Mona Lisa) thrown in for good measure: to witness vicariously the creation of these deathless masterpieces. Reviewer: Claudia Mills, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—Though he is now an old man of 81, Gabriele clearly remembers four years of his life, when he joined his "brother" Michelangelo in the city of Florence. Though not related, Gabriele and Angelo had grown up as brothers in Gabriele's stone-cutting family, before Michelangelo left for school and eventually made his name as an artist and sculptor. When 18-year-old Gabriele travels to the big city, he finds life very different from the little town of his birth. Florence in the early 1500s is filled with both art and politics, and Hoffman spends equal time on both. Gabriele models for a painter and for Angelo, who has accepted a commission for a statue of David. The insider's view of the art world will be fascinating to many readers. The politics of the time were complicated, and some readers will lose the thread as they follow the many names and factions woven into the story, but the basic thrust will be clear to most, as will the fact that Gabriele is playing a dangerous game of pretending to be on one side while undertaking actions to help the other. The author doesn't skirt the issue of "lusts of the flesh," for Gabriele is extremely handsome and attracts attention from both ladies and men. Readers with an interest in Michelangelo, da Vinci, and art in general will particularly enjoy this well-written story.—Maggie Knapp, Trinity Valley School, Fort Worth, TX
Kirkus Reviews

The author of theStravaganazaseries reveals the muse behind Michelangelo'sDavid.

Hoffman provides a possible inspiration for Michelangelo's famous sculpture in the form of Gabriele, a handsome fictional stonecutter whose mother served as Michelangelo's wet nurse. Gabriele comes to model for his "milk brother" in Florence during a time of political unrest. The city is split between thecompagnacci, who wish to return the city to royal Medici family rule, and thefrateschi, who follow the teachings of martyr and Dominican friar Girolamo Savonarola, an outspoken opponent of the Medici's wealth and influence. Michelangelo warns Gabriele to steer clear of Florence's politics. But impressionable Gabriele is adopted by thefrateschieven as his good looks earn him work as a painter's model for a member of thecompagnacci. Soon he finds himself a pawn in a street war that threatens his very life. While the concept is intriguing and the research meticulous, the execution is as dry as the frequently mentioned marble dust. Florence's turbulent political history is provided to the reader through long, didactic speeches from a confusing crowd of secondary characters that slow all action to a standstill. The entertaining passages that detail Gabriele's youthful sexual indiscretions, which break up the long-winded political talk considerably, are regrettably few and far between.

Nonfiction masquerading as a novel and failing as either sort of narrative.(character list, historical note, glossary)(Historical fiction. 13 & up)

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Product Details

Bloomsbury UK
Publication date:
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

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Meet the Author

MARY HOFFMAN is an acclaimed children's writer and critic. Her Stravaganza books have inspired FanFiction; her historical novels also include The Falconer's Knot and Troubadour. www.maryhoffman.co.uk

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David 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Erin. I like somone else. Her name is sarah. Met her at a nother book.