Matt O Brien, An Assistant Curator And Art Restorer At The Metropolitan Museum Of Art, Has Always Been Passionate About The Italian Renaissance But When He Discovers A Long Neglected Portrait Of A Beautiful Woman Among The Museum S Miles Of Storage Bins, He Becomes Obsessed And Not Only Because He Suspects That The Painting Is By Leonardo Da Vinci Something About The Mysterious Woman S Exquisite Face Stirs His Memory, And When Matt Finds Himself Spun Across The Centuries Into Quattrocento Italy, Where He Arrives Perfectly Attired In Th Century Clothing, He Appears To Be Free To Pursue HerA Magically Woven, Richly Detailed Debut, Quattrocentotells An Unforgettable Tale Of Art, And Love, And The Unexpected Places Places Where They Meet


10 thoughts on “Quattrocento

  1. says:

    So Usually I open a book with a completely open mind But not this book This book, I was bound and determined to like And I did like it good story concept, and it kept me reading until the very end even during period breaks of an NHL game, it held my interest But it has some flaws, too.The concept is great an assistant curator and art restorer at the Met finds a portrait that he knows is something special and as he spends hours restoring it, he falls in love with the subject of the por So Usually I open a book with a completely open mind But not this book This book, I was bound and determined to like And I did like it good story concept, and it kept me reading until the very end even during period breaks of an NHL game, it held my interest But it has some flaws, too.The concept is great an assistant curator and art restorer at the Met finds a portrait that he knows is something special and as he spends hours restoring it, he falls in love with the subject of the portrait It turns out, the portrait is a previously undiscovered Leonardo da Vinci and Matt the art restorer is somehow spun across the centuries until he arrives in quattrocento Italy, free to pursue Anna, the countess in the portrait I loved the concept two people altering reality to be with each other and in the hands of aexperienced writer, it would have been fantastic And the segments where Matt discusses art theory and music with various knowledgable people are very interesting those were my favorite parts of the book But McKean is a master violinmaker, not a master novelist yet So the novel had some flaws.The major flaw, in my opinion, was that I was never sure how the story got from one point to another First, Matt is in his office, then he s suddenly at a party He passes out whether from too many martinis or from some kind of wonky wrinkle in the time space continuum is unclear and when he wakes up, his girlfriend is mad at him Apparently he did something that upset her while he was out of it That must not be important to the story, though, because it s never mentioned again Turn page, and Matt is in love with Anna, who just a paragraph ago was buried under layers of dust and soot and oil and all kinds of goop How he restored the painting and his actually falling in love with her is never explained Just my girlfriend is mad at me and then boom I love a painting It didn t make sense Then the painting is suddenly revealed to the world, poor Matt can t handle it, he goes into a room in the Met to collect his thoughts, and poof he s in Renaissance Italy How he got there No clue It had something to do with vanishing points, and vibrations, and light refraction that s all I could figure out Of course, he doesn t really know how he got there either, but he seems to function just fine in five centuries ago The love story between Matt and Anna also seems rushed First, she barely notices him, then he stalks her a little, then suddenly they are painting buddies and then he gets booted back to the twentieth century and she s inscribing love conquers all in Latin on the back of her paintings Okaaaaay The story definitely would have benefited fromdevelopment.But in the end, I guess all that matters is I kept reading because I wanted to see how things turned out It was a fun story That makes a debut novel a success, right I have to say though, at the end of the day, the one thought that s really sticking in my mind from this book is this one how do I get my hands on a McKean cello


  2. says:

    Ok, yet another book in which I was excited about the concept and wholly disappointed by the delivery Mr McKean is not a bad writer each of the individual scenes in the book are very well written, very sensory accessible and it s obvious he s done a lot of research and or knows a lot about many many different topics The problem is that he doesn t string those great scenes together into a flowing, coherent narrative There s no story I mean, I get the plot Art restorer falls in love with pa Ok, yet another book in which I was excited about the concept and wholly disappointed by the delivery Mr McKean is not a bad writer each of the individual scenes in the book are very well written, very sensory accessible and it s obvious he s done a lot of research and or knows a lot about many many different topics The problem is that he doesn t string those great scenes together into a flowing, coherent narrative There s no story I mean, I get the plot Art restorer falls in love with painting subject, somehow travels back in time to find himself at her house, falls in love with her , there s a bad guy but I m not sure why he s bad, there s a conflict but it s fixed and everyone lives happily ever after But it s all disjointed and stuff just happens and there are a lot of big words I just wasn t able to sink my teeth into it


  3. says:

    A noteworthy first attemptExpert violinmaker, McKean, ventures into new territory with his ambitious debut novel, Quattrocento a story of fine art and love, cleverly disguised as time travel conceit.At the heart of the story is Matt O Brian, an art restorer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, who struggles with the realization that he has revealed a never before discovered quattrocento masterpiece by Leonardo da Vinci a painting of a beautiful young woman, who O Brian names Anna The painti A noteworthy first attemptExpert violinmaker, McKean, ventures into new territory with his ambitious debut novel, Quattrocento a story of fine art and love, cleverly disguised as time travel conceit.At the heart of the story is Matt O Brian, an art restorer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, who struggles with the realization that he has revealed a never before discovered quattrocento masterpiece by Leonardo da Vinci a painting of a beautiful young woman, who O Brian names Anna The painting and the subject become the focus of his obsession, and O Brian fears its discovery, as he does not wish to be parted from it In the meantime, the Metropolitan Museum has finished the restoration of Federico s Studiolo, an ancient study, a place O Brian is often drawn to for quiet reflection.Unwilling to psychologically part with the painting that he has worked tirelessly on, O Brian ultimately loses himself to the mysterious allure of the studiolo, and finds himself unwittingly whisked across five centuries to the quattrocento to be with the painting s beautiful subject, Anna There he discovers she is a Contessa and also an artist, married to an elderly man It is not long before O Brian also encounters her dangerous suitor, a covetous knight named Leandro, who plunges the art curator into a treacherous love triangle, vying for the Contessa s affections After falling in love and sharing their affection with a discreet kiss, Matt is parted from Anna, and is returned to present day.O Brian, desperate to return to Anna summons the aid of some ambiguous quantum mechanics, and is somehow jettisoned back to the quattrocento to pursue her again freely Her elderly husband has since passed away, and most importantly the jealous suitor Leandro is somewhat too conveniently gone.McKean s imaginative Quattrocento is a sprawling tale that isfantasy than it is drama The author s artistic background serves him well throughout the novel, as details regarding the beautiful world of art are truly breathtaking Several passages meld castle in the sky whimsy and reality as O Brian loses himself inside various art works And yet, throughout the novel, it seems as though McKean has bitten off a bitthan he can chew with regards to physics and the idea of time travel, as the descriptions become often tedious and lack a lot of logic But his efforts do deserve at least a nod of appreciation from art and book lovers alike


  4. says:

    In general, I enjoyed this tale of time travel and art history set in modern day New York City and fifteenth century Tuscany The glimpses behind the scenes of the art world are interesting, the story of Matt s obsession with a woman depicted in an old painting is very romantic and intriguing, and there s just enough danger thrown in to keep everything mysterious and exciting But I sometimes had trouble with the time warp elements of the story the main character would just suddenly fade out o In general, I enjoyed this tale of time travel and art history set in modern day New York City and fifteenth century Tuscany The glimpses behind the scenes of the art world are interesting, the story of Matt s obsession with a woman depicted in an old painting is very romantic and intriguing, and there s just enough danger thrown in to keep everything mysterious and exciting But I sometimes had trouble with the time warp elements of the story the main character would just suddenly fade out of one setting and appear in the other There seemed to be a suggestion that the time displacement had to do with vanishing points and certain sounds or vibrations, but I would have welcomed a littleexplanation of why or how it all occurred Also, Matt seems to fit into that Renaissance world a little too easily, even for someone who s spent most of his career studying its art and culture Things happen very quickly and without much explanation in that past world one minute Matt is just encountering Anna for the first time, they have a brief conversation about a painting, and suddenly they re soul mates sharing rather intimate moments in her private studio Would a woman from an aristocratic Italian family have behaved so freely with a stranger in fifteenth century Italy I think it s doubtful.The book is a pretty fast read, although I found the prose style a little hard to wade through at times McKean has obviously done a huge amount of research on art and the history and culture of Renaissance Italy, and it shows but sometimes not in a good way A lot of the discussions about art begin to sound like study notes, after a while McKean is actually a musician and instrument maker, and the book includes some discussions of music which are probably fascinating to other musicians, but seemed a little dry to me.But as I said, even with these reservations I still enjoyed the book It was McKean s first novel, so I m hoping for better things in the future He s definitely a writer worth a second try


  5. says:

    This is a beautifully written book James McKean really paints pictures with words and gorgeously turned phrases This is the story of Matt O Brien, who restores art for the Metropolitan Museum of Art When he comes upon a badly darkened painting tucked in the corner of the Met s archives, he has no idea how important it will become A young woman, whom he names, Anna good choice, man begins to emerge from the years of grime and mistreatment But what is astonishing is that it seems to him This is a beautifully written book James McKean really paints pictures with words and gorgeously turned phrases This is the story of Matt O Brien, who restores art for the Metropolitan Museum of Art When he comes upon a badly darkened painting tucked in the corner of the Met s archives, he has no idea how important it will become A young woman, whom he names, Anna good choice, man begins to emerge from the years of grime and mistreatment But what is astonishing is that it seems to him and everyone that a new works has been discovered by none other than the great master, Leonardo da Vinci Evenastonishing is it seems that Matt is falling in love with the woman in the painting, much to the dismay of his girlfriend, Sally And when Matt visits the studiolo, a strange small room that was reconstructed as a whole from a palace in Italy, he gets the strangest feeling Finally one day, he is transported back to the 14th century where he meets the real Anna, and her very jealous husband, Leandro What will become of the poor, hapless Matt The story was interesting, but at times I had a hard time following what was happening There is a lot of talk of string theory, quantum physics, and the music of the spheres, which I am afraid went over my head Still, the descriptions of Italy and the story were well done


  6. says:

    The idea behind this novel is excellent an art restorator falls in love with a woman in a Renaissance painting, then finds himself transported back to her time However, as much as I enjoyed the premise of the story, I was dissatisfied with how the author developed it Something about his writing style didn t click with me, and I couldn t get past the knowledge that this was a fictional story Somehow, I just didn t feel like I was in the Renaissance with flesh and blood characters I also didn The idea behind this novel is excellent an art restorator falls in love with a woman in a Renaissance painting, then finds himself transported back to her time However, as much as I enjoyed the premise of the story, I was dissatisfied with how the author developed it Something about his writing style didn t click with me, and I couldn t get past the knowledge that this was a fictional story Somehow, I just didn t feel like I was in the Renaissance with flesh and blood characters I also didn t really understand how it was that the protagonist actually traveled through time There just wasn t enough character and plot development to make me believe that, somehow, this could have happened


  7. says:

    Beautiful, puzzling, fascinating, disjointed Thank goodness for Internet, because I had to look up a lot of Italian and English art terms, but at least Google allowed me to view paintings by some of the painters I d never heard of Fortunately, I was aware of most of the physics that came up.If this sounds boring, it wasn t on the other hand it wasn t one of those books you can t put down The blurb called it a love story and mentioned time travel Well, there is a love story and I admit it wa Beautiful, puzzling, fascinating, disjointed Thank goodness for Internet, because I had to look up a lot of Italian and English art terms, but at least Google allowed me to view paintings by some of the painters I d never heard of Fortunately, I was aware of most of the physics that came up.If this sounds boring, it wasn t on the other hand it wasn t one of those books you can t put down The blurb called it a love story and mentioned time travel Well, there is a love story and I admit it was important to the plot, but it only takes up a very small portion of the narrative As for time travel, I thought to start with it was like Through The Looking Glass and that our narrator, like Alice, would wake to find it all a dream Instead, I think he found the answer to the universe, but I can t be sure because the book jumped around so much, I was never sure what was going on


  8. says:

    This book bounces between modern day in the life of an art restorer and the time period of the work he restores It combines art and romance and time travel It was interesting to see how the characters interact with each other and how they grow The female characters in the past are strong women and work within and around the time period s limitations on them This book was a fun read, fantasy novel.


  9. says:

    I thought this book was a bit slow to start, but really enjoyed it once the time travel actually started The art world details were interesting too Good read.


  10. says:

    Time travel for art history nerds.