Disarmed: The Story of the Venus de Milo (Paperback)

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In the spring of 1820, on the Aegean island of Melos, an unsuspecting farmer was digging for marble building blocks when he unearthed the statue that would come to be known as the Venus de Milo. From the moment of its discovery a battle for possession ensued and was won, eventually, by the French. Touted by her keepers in the Louvre as the great classical find of the era, the sculpture gained instant celebrity–and yet its origins had yet to be documented or verified.

From the flurry of excitement surrounding her discovery, to the raging disputes over her authenticity, to the politics and personalities that have given rise to her mystique, Gregory Curtis has given us a riveting look at the embattled legacy of a beloved icon and a remarkable tribute to one of the world’s great works of art.

About the Author

Gregory Curtis is a poet, essayist, businessman and novelist. He is the Chairman and founder of Greycourt & Co., Inc., an open architecture wealth advisory firm serving substantial families and select endowments on a global basis. Prior to founding Greycourt, Greg served for many years as president of a family office for the Mellon family and as President of the Laurel Foundation. Greg holds a BA degree from Dartmouth College, cum laude with high distinction in English, a JD degree from Harvard Law School, cum laude, and he is a graduate of The Endowment Institute at Harvard Business School. He also holds an honorary BA degree from St. John's College. Greg has six children and lives in Pittsburgh with his wife, Simin, the founder and CEO of the American Middle East Institute.

Praise For…

“Fresh, full of adventure, conflict, and a sense of discovery.” –The Baltimore Sun

“Masterful. . . . Entertaining. . . . Interesting and anecdote-filled. . . . A meaningful contribution to the legend of the stony seductress.” –Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Lively and engaging. . . . Readable and enlightening. . . . Filled with striking and compelling characters.” –The Dallas Morning News

“Absorbing. . . . Enormously entertaining. . . . Curtis is a writer of generous wit, who packs his book with delicious portraits of the scholars, writers, artists and politicians who contributed to the mythologizing of the Venus de Milo.” –San Jose Mercury News

“Fascinating. . . . Reads like a mystery.” –The Washington Post Book World

“Part thriller, part art history, part rumination on the Greeks. . . . Curtis writes faster and better than just about any academic art historian.” –Newsweek

“Absorbing. . . . Enormously entertaining. . . . Curtis is a writer of generous wit, who packs his book with delicious portraits of the scholars, writers, artists and politicians who contributed to the mythologizing of the Venus de Milo.” –San Jose Mercury News

“An engaging and engrossing book. It makes one want to head right off to Paris, to that long gallery in the Louvre, and have a look again.” –Larry McMurtry

“Curtis does a solid job of presenting art history as narrative non-fiction, moving the statue swiftly across many epochs and giving a taste of what it meant to each.” –Chicago Tribune

“Fascinating, scholarly, surprising, and extremely entertaining.” –Jan Morris

“Gripping. . . . [Curtis] disassembles each argument with the cranky urgency of a contemporary critic. And when he’s cleared the marble dust he takes his own crack at telling Venus’s story.” –Forbes FYI

“A memorable, fascinating, thrilling book. In vivid prose based on research of great integrity, he makes us see new depths beneath the statue’s beauty. He has created a work that will endure in your memory like the statue itself.” –Robert A. Caro

“In this colorful history of the statue and the riddles surrounding her, Curtis breathes warm life into this icon of female inscrutability.” –Men’s Journal

“I found Disarmed completely compelling. After a while, I started to think that the book would wind up getting, via a single sculpture, to everything–and it very nearly does: art, sex, politics, religion. It’s even, for me, in an oblique way, about war and “disarmament.” What a subtle, clever, nuanced work.” –David Shields

“Riveting. . . . Brisk and brilliant. . . . Highly readable, well-researched and even passionate. . . . Lush, learned, and surprisingly entertaining. . . . A stunning debut.” –Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Disarmed will be a startling book for readers expecting a dutiful art history lesson about a statue. It is instead a fiery and eccentric story, in whose pages all sorts of unforgettable characters fight for possession not just of the Venus de Milo herself, but of the tranquil, eternal, maddeningly elusive ideal of human perfection she represents.” –Stephen Harrigan

“Sparkling. . . . Deliciously convoluted. . . . Curtis . . . renews our appreciation for a masterpiece as beautiful as it is mysterious.” –Booklist

“A fascinating tale admirably told.” –Rosamond Bernier

“Lively and engaging. . . . Very readable and enlightening. . . . Curtis’s story is filled with . . . striking and compelling characters.” –The Trenton Times

Product Details
ISBN: 9781400031337
ISBN-10: 1400031338
Publisher: Vintage
Publication Date: November 9th, 2004
Pages: 276
Language: English