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Disarmed: The Story of the Venus De Milo

Curtis, Gregory

125 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0375415238 / ISBN 13: 9780375415234
Published by Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2003
Condition: Fine Hardcover
From Steven G. Jennings (Spring Branch, TX, U.S.A.)

AbeBooks Seller Since May 2, 2001 Seller Rating 5-star rating

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A new copy signed directly on the title page by author Curtis at the Texas Book Festival on November 9, 2003. Bookseller Inventory # 002563

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Disarmed: The Story of the Venus De Milo

Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf, New York

Publication Date: 2003

Binding: Hard Cover

Book Condition: Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Signed: Signed by Author

Edition: First Edition

About this title


The Venus de Milo is both a great work of art and a popular icon, and from the moment of her discovery in 1820 by a French naval ensign, she has been an object of controversy. In Disarmed, Gregory Curtis gives us the “life” of this magnificent representation of life.

Using memoirs, letters, and official accounts, Curtis takes us up close to events. We see the Venus unearthed by a farmer digging for marble building blocks on the Aegean island of Melos at the moment a young officer and amateur archeologist looking for “relics” happened by. We also see how the island’s elders, excited by the Frenchman’s offer of money, fought with their Turkish overlords over who owned her. We learn how the French pressed their claim and then, outwitting other suitors, brought her to the Louvre, where she became an immediate celebrity.

A passionate researcher, Curtis shows us Europe in the early nineteenth century, caught in the grip of a classical art mania and a burgeoning romantic Hellenism. He sketches a tale of rich historical intrigue, revealing just how far the Louvre was prepared to go to prove it had the greatest classical find of the era. He tells how this resulted in two magisterial scholars, one French and one German, battling over the statue’s origins and authenticity for decades.

Finally, expanding on accepted research, Curtis offers his own ideas of who carved the Venus and when, and how she appeared in her original setting on the island of Melos. He ends with a tribute to the statue’s beauty and eternal appeal.

A delightful, illuminating history of one of the most famous artworks of all time.

From the Back Cover:

“The Venus de Milo is probably the most famous sculpture in the world–controversial from the first and much written about. In Disarmed Gregory Curtis has tripped with delicate balance though the thick mine fields of scholarship and produced and engaging and engrossing book. It makes one want to head right off to Paris, to that long gallery in the Louvre, and have a look again.”
–Larry McMurtry

“In plunging us into the mysteries behind the glowing achievement that is the Venus de Milo, Gregory Curtis has created quite an achievement himself–a memorable, fascinating, thrilling book. In vivid prose based on research of great integrity, he makes us see new depths beneath the statue’s beauty. He has created a work that will endure in your memory like the statue itself.”
–Robert A. Caro

"Fascinating, scholarly, surprising and extremely entertaining".
–Jan Morris

“Disarmed will be a startling book for readers expecting a dutiful art history lesson about a statue.  It is instead a fiery and eccentric story,  in whose pages all sorts of unforgettable characters fight for possession not just of the Venus de Milo herself, but of the tranquil, eternal,  maddeningly elusive ideal of human perfection she represents.”
–Stephen Harrigan, author of The Gates of the Alamo

“A fascinating tale admirably told.”
–Rosamond Bernier

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