Author: John L’Heureux
The Medici Boy reminded me immediately of Irving Stone’s The Agony and the Ecstasy, A Novel of Michelangelo. L’Heureux’s 15th century Florence thrives on genius and sin, art, politics, and sexual deviance. This brilliant portrayal of Donatello, the greatest sculptor of 1400’s Florence, depicts a man both angelic with genius and kindness, and deviant and raging in his love for young men: specifically one young man, Agnolo, the model for his David and Goliath. Breathtaking and panoramic, Donatello’s life appears much as his sculpture, flawless in form and human in likeness.
Luca Mattei, the narrator of The Medici Boy, is one of Donatello’s closest assistants and friends, and serves as his scribe and accountant. Luca is in love with Donatello himself, although he never admits it. He is jealous of Donatello’s closeness to Pagno, another assistant, and he despises his model Agnolo, a relative of sorts to Luca. Agnolo is wild and frenzied and loves to find other young men to “play” with and whore with, and he drives Donatello to madness.
“In this well conceived, historically accurate rendering the Renaissance worlds of art, politics and passion collide. With his distinct style and rich, sinewy narrative, L’Heureux ingeniously transports the reader to Donatello’s Renaissance Italy – directly into his bottega (workshop) as witnessed through the eyes of Luca Mattei, a devoted assistant.
While creating his famous bronze of David and Goliath, Donatello’s passion for his enormously beautiful model and part time rent boy, Agnolo, ignites a dangerous jealousy that ultimately leads to murder. Luca, the complex and conflicted assistant, will sacrifice all to save Donatello, even his master’s friend – the great patron of art, Cosimo de’ Medici.”
A tremendously intricate and complex story, The Medici Boy is one of those novels that I could not put down. With great detail and anguish, L’Heureux’s rendition of Donatello’s art, his passions, his friends, and his horror that he will bring his bottega down and lose his Agnolo, comes alive. Spellbinding.
Ratings are based on a 5-star scale
Review by Broad “A” – Ava
We received a copy of this title for our book review. All opinions are our own