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Oil and Marble: A Novel of Leonardo and Michelangelo

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  6,690 ratings  ·  826 reviews
From 1501—1505, Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo Buonarroti both lived and worked in Florence. Leonardo was a charming, handsome fifty year-old at the peak of his career. Michelangelo was a temperamental sculptor in his mid-twenties, desperate to make a name for himself.

Michelangelo is a virtual unknown when he returns to Florence and wins the commission to carve what wi
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published March 1st 2016 by Arcade
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Stephanie Storey First, thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed it (I'm sorry I'm only now seeing this question!). But second, to answer your question: do you read Ken Follett…moreFirst, thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed it (I'm sorry I'm only now seeing this question!). But second, to answer your question: do you read Ken Follett? Pillars of the Earth or the others from that series or his Fall of Giants series? I second Tracy Chevalier and if you haven't read The Agony and the Ecstasy, get you to your nearest bookstore ASAP IF you have a thing for Michelangelo of course ;) One obscure art historical book that kept ME turning the pages: Painter of Souls by Philip Kazan (about Renaissance painter Fra Filippo Lippi). I also tend to really like Alyssa Polombo and am very much looking forward to her upcoming Borgia Confessions... I could go on! Thank you again for reading Oil and Marble and thanks for the The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society rec--I hadn't read it for some reason yet!(less)
Deborah What are you asking? Like any book, either buy it or get it from your library.

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Sonja Arlow
May 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars

I saw the Mona Lisa once, and to be honest I was a little disappointed that it was so small, covered in a glass box surrounded by pushing and shoving tourists in a very small room. I found the rest of the Louvre a lot more impressive.

I knew very little about Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo and the strength of this book was how educational it was for me. I was absolutely fascinated by the facts that came out of the story. I googled along with my reading as at times I thought surely th
Laurie Reilly
Jun 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
I chose to read this book because I had an upcoming trip to Italy. What a great choice! Who knew that Leonardo and Michelangelo had such a rivalry? It was interesting to learn that being an artist was not admirable and that sculpting was an arduous and and filthy business. Viewing Michelangelo's works in Rome was a completely different experience for me because of this book. ...more
Feb 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: edelweiss
This wonderful historical novel centers on Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo Buonarroti during the years 1501 – 1505 when they both lived and worked in Florence, Italy. Leonardo was in his fifties and an established artist. Michelangelo was in his twenties and had just completed “The Pieta” in Rome and had returned to Florence to make a name for himself and to support his family. When Michelangelo wins the Duccio stone commission and begins his beloved “David” sculpture, Leonardo is working on ...more
Dec 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
The year is 1501 and Stephanie Storey tells a highly-imagined tale of Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo Buonarreti as they return to Florence. At fifty years of age, Leonardo is the elder statesman in the area of art and science. Michelangelo considers himself a sculptor and has been distinguishing himself in Rome.

The story is about the rivalry between the two men. In Florence, the city fathers have offered a commission to Leonardo to carve the Duccio stone. A huge but damaged piece of marble,
Apr 25, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-2018, leonardo
When I was about 4% into this book, I had a lot to say. A LOT. Then I found a few episodes that I liked – weirdly, I like Storey’s portrayal of Salai. And then I came to the conclusion, that Storey is so confident that everything I have to say would be a waste of words and thoughts who cares. Hence I give it one star and leave it as a one star attempt to write about two brilliant minds, where the star goes mostly for an effort and in memory of all trees which died to provide paper for this book.
Jeanette Lewis
Jul 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The author reveals the great rivalry between Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo and brings to life these two magnificent artists. In age they are poles apart as well as in style. Leonardo is a fastidious man, egotistical and full of his own fame. Michelangelo on the other hand is a bit of a grub, scruffy, poorly attired and generally has bad body odour due to the lack of washing. Leonardo for the first part of the book is still to paint the Mona Lisa and is madly pursuing recognition for his mec ...more
Sep 10, 2016 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 16, 2019 rated it liked it
Because unless he is the master of his own time, he can never be the master of all time.

This was a very easy intro into the lives of Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. The author did a great job setting the scene and place. I'm visiting Italy in April, and will try my utmost to go to Florence to see some of the beautiful places described. Oil and Marble reads like a who's who in the 1500's with a cast of characters that also include Machiavelli, the Borgias and Botticelli.

I really enjoyed how
Jan 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Stephanie Storey’s debut novel has all the elements of fascinating historical fiction. She has re-imagined the lives of artists Michelangelo and Leonardo DaVinci during a period of four pivotal years (1501-1505) when they both lived and worked in Florence. At this time, Leonardo was 50 years old, his name and reputation secure, while Michelangelo was young, temperamental, and just beginning to make a name for himself. Through the course of a deepening rivalry, the two artists complete their most ...more
Mar 26, 2018 rated it liked it
This story begins with two artists returning to Florence. Leonardo da Vinci is returning from Milan, where he worked on designing a horse sculpture - the largest equestrian statue in the world, which was supposed to be cast in iron, but the clay model was destroyed by French soldiers invading Milan. Leonardo was forced to flee Milan. Michelangelo Buonarroti is returning from Rome, where he just finished working on Pieta.

They come back to Florence at a time, when commission on Duccio Stone is an
Crystal King
The world has long been in love with Da Vinci and with Michelangelo but rarely do we hear of the rivalry they had with each other. In Oil and Marble, Storey weaves a meticulously researched tale as complicated and beautiful as the treasures they left behind. The reader easily finds themselves rooting for both men, each radically different than the other, both flawed in their own ways, full of ego and incredible talent. If you love history and love art, take a trip back to the height of the Itali ...more
Jul 10, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: artists, hf, italy
I enjoyed immersing myself in the world of the renaissance and Italian politics, one forgets how many absolutely fantastic artists, politicians and rogues populated this time period and place. I knew this animosity or rivalry between Leonardo & Michelangelo existed but was put off by how it was portrayed here. Yes Leonardo was a bon vivant and Michelangelo more of an ascetic. Leonardo was an established artist and Michelangelo was trying to make his mark. But the childish characterizations and a ...more
Stephanie Storey
Oct 10, 2020 is currently reading it  ·  (Review from the author)
I still think it's funny that I get to review my own books on Goodreads! I mean I HAVE read it, but I can't possibly be objective or unbiased about it. I did thoroughly enjoy reading the quotes people pulled from it, and I've been like, "Whoa! I wrote that! And someone else copied it down. Weird." So while I can't really speak to what it might be like to read this book for the first time, what I can say is that WRITING this novel was the absolute GREATEST joy of my little life... I mean, I got t ...more
Gail Baugniet
Jul 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Hard to resist a story pitting two artistic, egotistical giants against one another, especially with the vivid backdrop of Florence. My expectations of a good storyline were low as I was willing to settle for the pleasure of merely spending time in the company of Leonardo and Michaelangelo. To my pleasant surprise, Stephanie Storey did extensive research to make her novel tension-filled, realistic, and enlightening.

By the final pages, these accomplished artists had truly come alive for me. This
Maureen Grigsby
Feb 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this novel of 1500 Florence, Italy where Michelangelo and Leonardo d’ Vinci compete for the commission to carve a David statue out of a special block of marble. We all know who ended up with that task, but the book gives these men personality and flaws, while telling a most fascinating story. Leonardo painted the Mona Lisa during this same time, and the author suggests that they spurred each other on to greater artistry through their political wrangling and dislike of each other ...more
Mar 18, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who don't know anything about art history, or good writing
Ugh. I should have known when the phrase "egg-based tempera" showed up that I was dealing with an author who either thought her readers were idiots—or didn't know how to write.

Unfortunately, it turned out to be both.

Stephanie Storey knows her history, there's no doubt about it. Interesting tidbits grace scenes (making it almost worthwhile to finish in order to learn something a bit esoteric to enamor at your next dinner party), but her attempt to novelize the sensational in the vibrant, nail-bit
Nancy Gann
Mar 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book will inspire you to read non-fiction history about Leonardo and Michelangelo. Do yourself a favor and read this book.
Joseph Adelizzi, Jr.
Apr 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I won this book in a GoodReads Giveaway.

As stated above, I won Stephanie Storey’s Oil and Marble on GoodReads, and truth be told, had I not won this book on GoodReads I don’t know if I would have been inclined to purchase it. What gives me pause is my fear that a work of historical fiction involving great artists would easily devolve into a Psychology 101 clown-car of silly theories about motivations and justifications of the artists’ actions and themes, thereby marring their work like a botched
Amanda Skoog
Jul 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
“Think … the greater danger for most of us is not in aiming too high and falling short, but in aiming too low and hitting the mark.”

As a fanatic of both books and art, I couldn´t really imagine a book more fitting than this one. Oil and Marble is a novel about two of the great masters; Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo Buonarroti. From 1501 – 1505 both of these great artists lived in Florence, a city that has homed and inspired (and still does!) many artists. In the book, we even get mentio
Horror Bookworm Reviews
Jan 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Oil and Marble
by Stephanie Storey

Oil and Marble is a magnificent story brimming with an all-star cast of world famous artists conducted by the talent of author Stephanie Storey. The novel centers around two of the most extraordinarily relevant talents in history, Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. As chapters are cleverly divided into Leonardo and Michelangelo, the reader visits Florence and delves into the triumphs and tragedies that are guided by a strong commitment to faith and art by both t
Oct 05, 2017 added it
My friend calls herself a history snob and suggest I may be one, too. But it's not that I was looking for pure history here. It is supposed to be imaginative fiction. The sensibilities were so modern, though, and, at least to the point I gave up, the characters weren't people I could imagine as the historical characters. That may just be my own lack of imagination. And a little bit of history snobbery? ...more
Beth Sponzilli
I visited Florence last year so all the locations and names were still fresh in my mind. Leonardo di Vinci and Michelangelo both lived in Florence in the years of 1501-1505. During this time they both created two different now famous works of art, The Mona Lisa and The David. They were rivals of of a sort and their dedication motivated each other. A great historical fiction story of a time in Italy during war and renaissance. Her next book is focused on Raphael (and Michelangelo’s Sistine chapel ...more
Barbi ♉️
May 20, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A lot of interesting information between Leonardo and Michelangelo. Fierce competition between known and unknown.
Scott Wilson
Aug 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this look at the rivalry between two of the all time great artists as imagined in Florence in 1501-1505. Like other historical fiction this is based on many interesting known pieces of history about the artists and Florence at the time and the author takes some literary license to fill in the gaps.

I'm a novice when it comes to art although I have seen the Mona Lisa in the Louvre but that did not deter from my enjoyment of this book at all. My favorite books that take place in a
Connie Hall
Feb 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Oil and Marble is a very entertaining read! If you love these two pieces of art - David and Mona Lisa - you will enjoy it even more. The only reason I didn't go with 5 stars is because some of her embellishments are a little unbelievable; but the main parts - the artists working and their rivalry - are well done and very moving.
Because I am planning to be in Florence this March, it was especially fun to read about this history.
Jul 23, 2019 rated it liked it
This was interesting read about Michelangelo and Leonardo. I loved being transported to Florence and how these two Masterpieces were created. I did not love the writing. I felt it was very immature with the constant rivalry between the two artists. There had to be more to this story. It gave me doubts as to what was true and what was fictional. Overall it is worth the read to get an understanding of the time and what these artists had to sacrifice to create their masterpieces.
Aug 02, 2016 rated it it was ok
This was way too long, even a longer way too obvious and quite terribly written as well (I almost appreciate author's vocabulary of Italian curses, but they don't make up for for lack of style and numerous other mannerisms) The 2 stars result is for the topic, and historical accuracy - which does not make a novel though. ...more
Aug 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An intriguing account of two amazingly brilliant artists. Storey unveiled the possible thoughts and feelings that Leonardo and Michelangelo each might have experienced as they faced the pressures and conflict that existed between the two. She revealed the struggles each man experienced while trying to prove themselves of their talents. As with other books of this genre, I am motivated to research on my own to find out what is history and what is fiction. Enjoyed it immensely.
Mar 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ut-book-club
I thought the back stories of two of the most famous pieces of art was really interesting. Here is a list of all the art I googled while reading this book; (I know you want to know)
The Last Super
The Pieta
Donatello's David
Verrocchio's David
Botticelli's La Primevera
Botticelli's Birth of Venus
Virgin of the Rocks by da Vinci
Donatello's Judith and Holofernes
Salvator Mundi by da Vinci
Mona Lisa
Michelangelo's David
Tim Tigner
Jan 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Speaking as an author who’s written a bestseller from Leonardo Da Vinci’s point of view, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. Stephanie does a wonderful job of combing things most don’t know about the artists’ lives with the stories of the masterpieces we all love. You’ll learn a lot from Oil and Marble, and have difficulty putting it down. It’s the best book I’ve read all year, and likely to remain so.

I listened to the audiobook, and will buy that version of her forthcoming Raphael novel as soon as
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Irmo Branch Libra...: Oil and Marble 7 8 May 26, 2020 06:49PM  
Play Book Tag: Oil and Marble: A Novel of Leonardo and Michelangelo -- 3 stars 1 20 May 27, 2016 06:39AM  

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Stephanie Storey is the author of the bestselling historical novel, "Oil and Marble: a novel of Leonardo and Michelangelo." The New York Times called it "tremendously entertaining," it has been translated into 6 languages and is in development as a feature film by Pioneer Pictures. Storey is also the author of "Raphael, Painter in Rome," and a national television producer of shows like The Arsenio ...more

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“A drop of ocean water had the ambition to rise high into the air. So, with the help of fire, it rose as vapor, but when it flew so high that the air turned cold, it froze and fell from the sky as rain. The parched soil drank up the little drop and imprisoned it for a long time: punishment for its greedy ambition. You’re” 4 likes
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