An Evening with Joseph Luzzi: Botticelli's Secret

presented in partnership with Vermont Italian Cultural Association
Thursday, January 25, 2024 - 7:00pm
Event address: 
Phoenix Zoom Channel

Phoenix Books and Vermont Italian Cultural Association are honored to present a virtual evening with author Joseph Luzzi for a discussion of his latest book, Botticelli's Secret: The Lost Drawings and the Rediscovery of the Renaissance.

About the book:  Some five hundred years ago, Sandro Botticelli, a painter of humble origin, created works of unearthly beauty. A star of Florence’s art world, he was commissioned by a member of the city’s powerful Medici family to execute a near-impossible project: to illustrate all one hundred cantos of The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri, the ultimate visual homage to that “divine” poet.

This sparked a gripping encounter between poet and artist, between the religious and the secular, between the earthly and the evanescent, recorded in exquisite drawings by Botticelli that now enchant audiences worldwide. Yet after a lifetime of creating masterpieces including Primavera and The Birth of Venus, Botticelli declined into poverty and obscurity. His Dante project remained unfinished. Then the drawings vanished for over four hundred years. The once famous Botticelli himself was forgotten.

The nineteenth-century rediscovery of Botticelli’s Dante drawings brought scholars and art lovers to their knees: this work embodied everything the Renaissance had come to mean. From Botticelli’s metaphorical rise from the dead in Victorian England to the emergence of eagle-eyed connoisseurs like Bernard Berenson and Herbert Horne in the early twentieth century, and even the rescue of precious art during World War II and the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the posthumous story of Botticelli’s Dante drawings is, if anything, even more dramatic than their creation.

A combination of artistic detective story and rich intellectual history, Botticelli’s Secret shows not only how the Renaissance came to life, but also how Botticelli’s art helped bring it about—and, most important, why we need the Renaissance and all that it stands for today.

Joseph Luzzi is the Asher B. Edelman Professor of Literature at Bard College and an award-winning writer, teacher, and scholar of Italian culture. He is the author of five books and lives in New York’s Hudson Valley.

About Vermont Italian Cultural Association:  The Vermont Italian Cultural Association (VICA) is dedicated to preserving and promoting Italian culture in Vermont.  We welcome anyone interested in Italian culture, arts, language, history and other aspects of Italian civilization. You don't need to be Italian to appreciate Italian culture.For more information please visit: https://www.vermontitalianculturalassociation.org

How to register:

Registration is free, but book purchases are welcomed and appreciated--thank you for supporting our author!   You must register on this page to attend the event. The event will stream on Zoom. You will receive an email with the Zoom link after registering. If you don't receive a confirmation email after registering today, contact us right away so we can check for problems now.

Purchase a copy of Botticelli's Secret HERE If you ordered a book for store pick up, we will contact you as soon as it's ready.  If you ordered a book with shipping, please allow an additional 7-10 days for delivery after it has been signed. 

If you have signed up for the event and are having difficulty accessing it via Zoom, please contact us via email at tickets@phoenixbooks.biz throughout the event & will do our best to provide technical support as needed.