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The Creation of Eve

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3.69 of 5 stars 3.69  ·  rating details  ·  1,187 ratings  ·  179 reviews
It's 1559. A young woman painter is given the honor of traveling to Michelangelo's Roman workshop to learn from the Maestro himself. Only men are allowed to draw the naked figure, so she can merely observe from afar the lush works of art that Michelangelo sculpts and paints from life. Sheltered and yet gifted with extraordinary talent, she yearns to capture all that life a ...more
Hardcover, 392 pages
Published March 23rd 2010 by Putnam Adult (first published January 1st 2010)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Epeeblade
This book had plenty of elements that I should have liked - a Renaissance setting, a female painter in a time when it was a rarity, the intrigues of a royal court. Instead, I found myself more and more frustrated with this book.

I never really warmed up to the character of Sofonisba. In the beginning when she muses on the lot of women made her just a touch too self-aware and too 20th century for me. And then for a supposedly clever woman she just doesn't act very intelligently.

Overall the plot ar
...more
Jamie
Entertaining to read. I loved reading about the Spanish court. I thought the convergance of issues -- the protestant reformation, the inquisition, the morality of the court, the complexity of the relationship were all very interesting to read.

My main problem was this -- I know that in historical fiction liberties are taken -- but I took exception with the one main liberty that the author uses as the central point to the whole plot-- and it is in the first 20 pages of the book -- that Sofi -- th
...more
Mere
Jun 02, 2009 Mere rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone!
I LOVE this book. It will be published in March 2010 and I wish it was sooner so everyone could read it now! What a rich world Lynn Cullen creates, and she draws you in from page one. A beautifully written historical novel about Sofonisba Anguissola, a female painter in the Spanish court of Phillip II, it is truly a delight to read! I wouldn't consider myself a fan of historical ficion (I haven't read that much in the genre), but I think this story transcends the genre. I couldn't put it down. L ...more
Gail Cooke
There is little reading more intriguing than well done historical fiction. Lynn Cullen raises this genre to new heights with her intriguing, richly visualized THE CREATION OF EVE. Based on the life of the first woman painter to achieve any degree of recognition during the Renaissance, Sofonisba Anguissola, the author transports us to the 16th century courts of Spain and France, each alive with rankling jealousies, harbored dreams, and clever machinations.

As a child of 7 Sofonisba was inspired by
...more
Kelly Hager
This reminded me a lot of The Other Boleyn Girl, except I actually ended up liking this better. (High praise indeed, because I LOVED TOBG.)

Sofi is sent to the Spanish King's court to be a lady-in-waiting for his new wife after a little indiscretion. Sofi (actually a real person) was a painter of some renown; she trained under Michelangelo (which ended up being maybe not so great, since this was the time he was considered a heretic and also discovered to be gay).

There's a love story and a lot of
...more
LeAnne
Fascinating story with some of my favorite things to read about--history, art, and court life--all rolled up into one. I want to read more by Lynn Cullen!
Jess
Sofonisba Anguissola was one of the first great female painters of the Renaissance, and a truly fascinating woman, so I was immediately interested when I came upon this book, which tells of Sofonisba's time in the court of King Philip II of Spain. However, although it's evident that Lynn Cullen has researched the people and the period extensively, her story failed to capture me. I found it difficult to develop a lot of attachment to the characters, most of whom were very one-note, and quickly ti ...more
Jana Gueck
This is the one time in my life where I picked a book because of it's cover and it was exactly what I wanted it to be. Ok, it wasn't the cover itself, but scrawled across it was "Enormously Satisfying" - Sara Gruen, author of Water for Elephants. Sold. I loved Water for Elephants.

Sofonisba "Sofi" Anguissola is a student of Michelangelo when she falls in love with Tibero, her fellow student. After they are caught alone together, Sofi runs home, hoping that he will send for her. Instead, the King
...more
Jennifer Rayment
Good Stuff

* Historically accurate and very rich in detail
* Intriguing characters
* Very well researched and the author obviously has a passion for these historical characters and their time period
* Interesting notes at the beginning of each chapter
* wonderful understanding and description of a woman's place in this era of history
* Lots of court intrigue
* The Author's note at the end of the book


Not So Good Stuff

* Storyline dragged and was a little dry at times
* Not very passionate and fie
...more
Darcy
Dec 22, 2009 Darcy rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Darcy by: Friend
Really enjoyed this book.

Isn't there something about historical fiction that really allows for fascinating character development and draws you into the story? The story is real, but the author has the freedom to explore controversial events and persona. The Creation of Eve (CE) was just that sort of captivating book. We have traveled various parts of Europe on family vacations with the typical American fascination with the whole concept of kings, queens and other historical persons. CE fed that
...more
Suzanne Kittrell
I was kind of excited about this book for it deals with one of the first female Renaissance artists and her story. She apprencticed in real life under Michelanglo (sic) but went to the Spanish Royal Court in the 1580s to be a painting instructor to the then teenage Queen. This novel turned out to be too much about the Spanish Court and all the intrigues that happen therein. There was not enough about the woman artist though it must be acknowledged there is so little known about her and her work ...more
Melissa
Another 3 1/2 stars rating.

This book follows the barely known real life story of Sofonisba Anguissola one of the first well known female artists of the renaissance. It was filled with rich history and intrigue, but in all honesty wasn't really my type of read. In all honesty the whole time i was reading it i was thinking that a relative of mine is going to adore this book. She has shelves and shelves of books that are very similar to it.

So anyone who loves the classics, art, and history this bo
...more
Ryan G
I'm still trying to figure out how much of this book I enjoyed and how much of it just wasn't for me. On the one hand we are presented with a fantastic character in Sofi. A woman, with the support of her family, pursues her passion of art. Her father pushes her and supports her to the point of getting the attention of Michaelangelo himself. She is constantly trying to prove herself in a world dominated by men. Through her own actions she is forced into a situation where she is bound to serve the ...more
Mary
Mar 18, 2013 Mary marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Well-written historical fiction is always a pleasure, but when it reveals to us an unfamiliar chapter in history it rises to a higher level. In this wonderfully rich and page-turning novel, the author introduces us to Sofonisba Anguissola, a 16th-century Italian woman who was one of the most highly regarded portrait painters of her time. Lynn cullen pays particular attention to the years Anguissola spent as instructor and lady-in-waiting to the Spanish queen Elisabeth de Valois. Excellent fun.
Aj
I really loved this book. I found it very difficult to put down. It is about the life of talented female painter during the Renaissance period. The novel is beautiful woven with many themes such as court intrigue, the Inquisition, Michelangelo, discoveries from the new world and much more.
Stephanie Lee
I love the development of the characters so far! This books allows you to get into the heads and hearts of the main characters and you feel how they feel. I recommend this, it is a quick read and great for lovers of historical fiction.
Rebecca
I actually picked this book up for a $1 at the Dollar Tree and was amazed and how well written it was. I had never heard of the female artist who tells the story but it turns out she is one of the most popular of the Renaissance. She actually studied with Michelangelo as before she went to the Spanish court to be a lady in waiting and art instructor to the queen. This is an time of history that I don' know much about so I can't speak to it's authenticity. I can say that I think my daughter who ...more
Craig Masten
The Creation of Eve is about as good a combination of excellently researched history and biography of its times enriched by a novelist's fine skills in weaving believable fictional imaginings which stray as little as possible from known facts. Excellent book filled with engaging details of life in Renaissance Italy. Although the book's main character and narrator is perhaps the first major known female artist, Sofinisba Anguissola, I learned much more about about the intrigue and mores of a roya ...more
Elizabeth
Interesting story of a historical figure often lost in the accounts of the era. Very readable and engaging.
Sam
[FULL REVIEW]

I had such high expectations for this book, and that might be why I’m so disappointed in it. I felt like nothing happened to the main character. She had so much potential to make history as a wonderful female painter, but instead had to go to Spain. While there, the focus of the story switched completely to Elisabeth and the other Spanish royals around her, making Sofi a secondary character. The only thing going for her was her potential romance with Tiberio coming back into play, b
...more
Nancy
Thank you Goodreads--a First Reads Win!

I was totally absorbed by this well-researched historic novel, not only for the intriguing story, but because I cared about Sofonisba, the protagonist and the first female painter to rise to prominence in the Italian Renaissance—she came alive on the page. Cullen totally immerses the reader into the strange and exotic world of 16th century Spanish court life. Not only does she tell a compelling story, but she separates fact from fiction in her notes at the
...more
Carey
"Will I ever understand the workings of the human heart? Will I ever know why we so often love those whom we cannot possess, and why we do not cherish those whose love we do possess? We are as thistledown twitching and turning in the current, captives to feelings we cannot control. How are we to understand those persons who mean the most to us when we cannot truly understand our own blind and hapless selves?"

Lynn Cullen's novel, The Creation of Eve, tells the story of Sofonisba Anguissola, the
...more
Abby
I really liked this book. I loved learning about Sofonisba Anguissola. I looked up a lot of details about the Spanish court while reading and it seems that the author did stay pretty true to history while writing, which is something I love in a historical fiction novel.

These are the reasons that I didn't give this book five stars:

***spoiler alert***

1. Sofi spends almost every waking moment with the Queen, yet there is never any real friendship between the two of them. I find it impossible to bel
...more
Rio (Lynne)
I've seen Michelangelo's work, but didn't know much about him personally. I had never heard of Sofonisba Anguissola, so I thought this would be an interesting read and it was. I just finished CW Gortner's "Confessions Of Catherine de Medici" and I didn't realize that this book was about Catherine's daughter, Elisabeth after she weds King Philip and joins the Spanish court. Sofonisba, joins this court as Elisabeth's paint tudor. It was a good follow up to "Confessions". I enjoy authors who bring ...more
Dori
I didn't have a chance to do my review for this book when I finished it last week, so I'm here to put down a few thoughts about it. First, I have to say that I really don't have a lot of experience or a vast amount of knowledge in this particular area of Italian History. So, to be clear, although I classified this as historical fiction, I'm not really reviewing or judging it on historical merits. I'm sure someone much more qualified than I am can do a better job at that.
I struggled whether or no
...more
Beth
I really enjoyed this book tells the story of Sofonisba Anguissola, a female painter during the Renaissance. Blessed with the gift of painting, she catches the eye of Michelangelo who invites her to study with him for a few weeks. She meets another painter and falls in love with him in just a short period of time. After returning home, she hopes he will send for her to marry her. Instead the King of Spain invites her to be a lady-in-waiting for his new bride.

For the next three-quarters of the bo
...more
Emily Patterson-Blight
In The Creation of Eve, Lynn Cullen captures a web of historical figures in a fiction as intriguing as Sofonisba's own work and unsung biography. Sofonisba's narration, punctuated with jewel-like artistic perceptions of nature and character, is highly readable even as it is teeming with realistic portraits of both Spanish court life and artistic endeavor. Cullen succeeds especially in rendering the Philip II and his queen's likeness, spinning a lovelorn mystery around the vivacious Elizabeth so ...more
April
The Creation of Eve is a highly engrossing story that will quickly and easily transport the reader back in time to a completely different era and way of life. Lynn Cullen does a beautiful job intertwining fact with fiction in a story that will satisfy even the most particular of historical fiction fans.

Sofonisba Anguissola is a young woman from a far from well-off family and background. However, Sofi has a magnificent talent that sends her dreams on a wondrous set of dove-colored wings. That is
...more
Heather
When I heard about this book, months before it was to be released, I knew that I just had to read it. See, I had to do a senior project on Sofonisba Anguissola about a year ago and fell in love with her story. I just had to see if it turned out to be everything that I loved about her story.

One of the things that I loved about the style of this book was the way that each segment of the story started with an “item”. These items related to what was going to happen in the chapter and were related to
...more
Nicole
When visiting Michelangelo's workshop in Rome, Sofi becomes tempted into an indiscretion with the young man she has longed for for some time, Tiberio. With no resulting offer of marriage Sofi accepts the position of lady-in-waiting to the very young, newly crowned Queen of Spain, Elisabeth, and in doing so subjugates her love and talent for painting. The story follows Sofi through the trials of the Queen's new marriage to King Felipe II and the jealousies and rivalries that arise between the Kin ...more
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“Every heart, it have its own ache.” 8 likes
“In painting, three things must be considered - the position of the viewer, the position of the object viewed, and the position of the light that illuminates the object.” 1 likes
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