Historical Fiction Daily is a new historical fiction magazine that aggregates articles and links of interest for writers and readers of the genre. It is moderated by Richard Lee, founder of the Historical Novel Society. If the first issue is any indication, it's going to be a wonderful daily read!
Stumbled across an utterly fascinating story of a sixteenth-century wooden automaton of a monk on permanent display at the Smithsonian Institution. Watch the monk walk and kiss his rosary in this video, then read the article by Elizabeth King about the machine's genesis and attribution. "Monkbot" appears to have been built in 1560 by Juanelo Turriano, Emperor Charles V's mechanician. Representing Fray Diego de Alcala, a fifteenth century monk whose cause for sainthood was being promoted at the time, the automaton was commissioned by Charles's son, King Philip II, in thanksgiving for the miraculous healing of his own son Don Carlos from a near fatal head wound. It's amazing to watch the six hundred year old figure move and to read King's account of her attempts to determine its origins. Thanks to the Radiolab blog for running a recent post about this "Clockwork Miracle."
"I set to work to learn dancing and went twice to the school. There I had to pay the master a ducat. Nobody could make me go there again. I would have to pay out all that I have earned, and at the end I still wouldn't know how to dance!"
Giorgio Vasari (1511-74) is best known for writing Lives of the Most Eminent Painters, Sculptors and Architects, a collection of biographical sketches of contemporary artists that is filled with amusing anecdotes about famous Renaissance creators, many of whom he knew personally. Vasari was, however, a painter and architect in his own right who served as court artist to Cosimo I de' Medici. One of Vasari's grandest projects was designing the Uffizi, a building constructed to house Florence's administrative offices and guild headquarters under one roof. The Uffizi now serves as one of Florence's finest art galleries, displaying works by many of the artists Vasari wrote about. In order to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Vasari's birth, the Uffizi is hosting a special exhibition now through October. Vasari, Gli Uffizi e Il Duca highlights Vasari's collaboration with Duke Cosimo in transforming Florence into a modern capital. The Financial Times just ran an interesting article about the exhibition and Vasari's accomplishments. I myself have a special debt to Vasari, for his essay on Rosso Fiorentino sparked several ideas for the novel I am presently working on.
I write historical fiction set in sixteenth century France. An avid reader who fell in love with all things French as a teen, I went on to earn a Ph.D in French literature from Princeton. My stories grow from my research and my desire to make Renaissance Europe come alive for modern readers. Explore my blog and immerse yourself in this fascinating era!