About I Am Venus
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Overlook Hardcover (June 13, 2013)
Bárbara Mujica, author of the acclaimed historical novels Frida and Sister Teresa, turns her eye to 17th-century Spain and the court of King Phillip IV, in her new book, I Am Venus.
I Am Venus chronicles the relationship between the great Baroque Spanish painter Diego Velázquez and the woman who became his Venus. Author Bárbara Mujica vividly reimagines the great artist’s rise to prominence, set against the backdrop of political turmoil and romantic scandal. Narrated by the mysterious model who posed for Velázquez’s only female nude, “The Rokeby of Venus,” I Am Venus is a seductive historical novel of the love between an artist and his muse.
The year is 1619, and Diego Velazquez is a rising star at an art academy in Seville run by his father-in-law. But even as his young wife builds him a family, the painter finds himself yearning for a larger canvas, and soon his ambition lands him at the court of King Philip IV, where his star quickly rises, even as Spain finds itself plunged into military defeat and domestic chaos.
But as he gains nobility and privilege, Velázquez encounters the sinful decadence that defines the regime. As he finds himself torn between loyalty to family and the easy seductions of power, Velázquez decides to take on his riskiest painting yet, which could, in a stroke, land him in the claws of the Inquisition.
I Am Venus is a sweeping story of scandal and passion, and a vivid recreation of a corrupt kingdom on the brink of collapse. Reminiscent of Girl with a Pearl Earring, it is a thrilling novel that brings to life the public and private worlds of Spain’s greatest painter.
“Incidents in the life of Diego Velázquez, the most prominent artist in 17th-century Spain, as filtered through the consciousness of his mysterious model for the Rokeby Venus. . . Mujica’s prose is vigorous and intense, and the story is paradoxically both dark and illuminating.” – Kirkus Reviews
Barbara Mujica is a novelist, short-story writer, essayist and professor at Georgetown University. Her latest novel, I Am Venus (Overlook Press), explores the identity of the model for the famous Rokeby Venus, the only extant female nude of seventeenth-century Spanish painter Diego de Velázquez. Her previous books include the critically acclaimed novels Frida, based on the relationship between Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, and Sister Teresa, about the life of Saint Teresa de Avila, both published by Overlook. A play based on the latter is currently being developed by The Actors Studio in Los Angeles.
Mujica has won numerous prizes for her stories, which have appeared in magazines and anthologies. Her essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Miami Herald, The Dallas Morning Star, and hundreds of other publications.
A Professor of Spanish at Georgetown University, Dr. Mujica writes extensively on Spanish literature. She has twice been named one of Georgetown’s most influential professors by the Academic Council.
Since her son, a U.S. Marine, returned from Iraq in 2008, Mujica has devoted much of her energy to serving transitioning veterans. At Georgetown she is faculty adviser of the Georgetown University Student Veterans Association (GUSVA) as well as Associate Facilitator of the Veterans Support Team, a coalition of faculty, administrators, and students. Recently she has begun writing about issues pertaining to student veterans. For more information please visit www.barbaramujica.com.
Bárbara Mujica’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:
Monday, September 16th: Rinn Reads
Wednesday, September 18th: BookNAround
Thursday, September 19th: Books Without Any Pictures
Monday, September 23rd: Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Wednesday, September 25th: Fiction Addict
Thursday, September 26th: A Bookish Affair
Monday, September 30th: Guiltless Reading
Wednesday, October 2nd: Unabridged Chick
Thursday, October 3rd: Literally Jen
Monday October 7th: Col Reads
Wednesday, October 9th: Broken Teepee
Monday, October 14th: Book Dilettante