Book Buzz: The Night Portrait: A Novel of World War II and da Vinci's Italy by Laura Morelli

A respected art historian, Morelli brings an exceptional depth of research and understanding to a story already made memorable by her beautiful prose. Jennifer Robson



An exciting, dual-timeline historical novel about the creation of one of Leonardo da Vinci's most famous paintings, Portrait of a Lady with an Ermine, and the woman who fought to save it from Nazi destruction during World War II.


Milan, 1492: When a 16-year old beauty becomes the mistress of the Duke of Milan, she must fight for her place in the palace--and against those who want her out. Soon, she finds herself sitting before Leonardo da Vinci, who wants to ensure his own place in the ducal palace by painting his most ambitious portrait to date.


Munich, World War II: After a modest conservator unwittingly places a priceless Italian Renaissance portrait into the hands of a high-ranking Nazi leader, she risks her life to recover it, working with an American soldier, part of the famed Monuments Men team, to get it back.


Two women, separated by 500 years, are swept up in the tide of history as one painting stands at the center of their quests for their own destinies.

The Night Portrait is a compelling page turner at the same time as it is a mesmerizing meditation on legacy, guilt and complicity, the horrors of war, and most of all, the singular power of art. This well-researched and vivid novel is sure to thrill history buffs and art lovers alike.
―Alyssa Palombo, author of The Borgia Confessions

The Night Portrait: A Novel of World War II and da Vinci's Italy by Laura Morelli

496 Pages

ISBN 9780062993571



Laura Morelli holds a Ph.D. in art history from Yale University and is the author of fiction and nonfiction inspired by the history of art. She has taught college students in the U.S. and Italy, and is a TED-Ed educator. Her flagship shopping guidebook, Made in Italy, has led travelers off the beaten track for more than two decades. Her award-winning art historical novels include The Painter's Apprentice, The Gondola Maker, and The Giant: A Novel of Michelangelo's David.



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