Based on the muse for one of Leonardo DaVinci’s early paintings, DaVinci’s Tiger is a historical fiction book with with a feminist twist. In a time when woman were seen as property of their father’s and husbands, Ginevra de Benci Niccolini yearns to be more than a pretty face. Encouraged by her father and the nuns at her boarding school to learn Latin, literature, and philosophy, she is able to discuss artwork with her social circle, which includes the Medicis who control the banks and the artists they fund, which include Verrocchio and his apprentice, DaVinci. When the ambassador from Venice, Bernardo Bembo, declares her his a Platonic muse and commissions a painting of her to be done by Leonardo DaVinci, she and DaVinci decide to make this painting different from the standard. Based on the one line of poetry she wrote that survived the centuries, “I beg your pardon, I am a mountain tiger,” Ginevra comes to life in this book as a politically savvy yet strong, morally-sound woman ahead of her time.
I loved this book for its historical background and strong feminist undertones throughout the story. Many of Ginevra’s words made me think and have stuck with me long after reading this book. I am definitely going to reread this a few more times to enjoy and think about some more.
I gave this 5 out of 5 stars on Goodreads.