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Sample Discussion Questions:
Oil and Marble
Who do you relate to more, Michelangelo or Leonardo and why?
Our society/history, puts artists like Michelangelo and Leonardo up on a pedestal/out of reach… Oil and Marble tries to make them HUMAN. Discuss their human struggles and flaws and personalities in this novel and how that element of humanity in these artists improves your experience of their art.
Who has seen the Mona Lisa and the David in person? What was the experience like; did reading this novel change that experience in retrospect, why?
These two artists create their art very differently — discuss their different creative processes and how their art is a product of their approach. How did their temperaments affect their process and their art?
Mona Lisa’s smile… Was the “reason” given for her smile fulfilling and why or why not (I definitely only suggest discussing this one if everyone has read the book!)
What have Michelangelo and Leonardo taught you about creativity and success?
When I first started talking about the book, readers were surprised that Michelangelo and Leonardo lived at the same time — was anyone at your book club surprised? Did everyone know they lived at the same time? Why DON’T we know this about these two most famous artists?
Discuss the differences between Michelangelo’s relationship with his family and Leonardo’s — and how that affected their lives and art.
Discuss the Author’s Note in the end about which parts of the book were based on the historical record and which parts were imagined. Did you like the balance or did things bother you (Insider tip here: I’ve had several people tell me they were HEARTBROKEN that the bird ring was imagined).
I always love hearing people talk about how each artist affected the other in the book. Do you think we would have Michelangelo without Leonardo and vice versa and why?
I feel like we are living in an era that is ripe to create another Michelangelo or Leonardo. I think we are living in a “New Renaissance.” Do you agree? Why/why not?
My Top 10 Recommendations for nonfiction & fiction reads for fans of Oil and Marble.
It’s finally official. My new novel is entitled Raphael, Painter in Rome. It will be published (once again by Arcade) on April 7, 2020 in time for the 500th anniversary of Raphael’s death (he died on April 6, 1520).
Today, a new Leonardo da Vinci drawing was discovered in France (see featured image). To honor this very real discovery of very real history, here are 10 shockingly true stories from my historical novel, Oil and Marble: a novel of Leonardo and Michelangelo. I wrote lots of imagined bits — that’s why it’s fiction — but these historical facts may surprise you.
(I teach writing classes all across the country. Check my Events page for upcoming classes) The question came as we were wrapping up the discussion about my novel, Oil and Marble: "How do you find and choose specific details in your...
The first time I visited — over 20 years ago — the painting felt distant. I’d studied it for so may hours in a dark art history classroom that I didn’t know how to connect with the thing itself. The second time, I focused on studying every …
Over the last two-and-a-half months, I’ve traveled to 18 states, signed over 1,000 books, and put on 81 “shows” (where I do a reading and/or talk about my novel). I’ve spoken at book stores, museums, art galleries, libraries, historical …
The most common question I get about my art-historical novel, Oil and Marble: a novel of Leonardo and Michelangelo, is: “What inspired you to write it?”
For five years, from 1501 – 1505, Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo Buonarroti both lived and worked in Florence. Leonardo was an aging master, the most famous of his day. Michelangelo was a young, up-and-coming sculptor.
A friend recently told me about his experience seeing the Mona Lisa for the first time. "I was expecting to have this quiet, intimate moment with this beautiful painting," he said. "Instead, it was a madhouse! Why didn't anyone…
Warriors and Queens. Geniuses and schemers. Masters of swords and horses. They weren’t all saints (in fact some were downright evil), but they all fought their own battles. Beware Lara Croft and Katniss Everdeen…