The Night Portrait: A Novel of World War II and da Vinci's Italy (Paperback)
An exciting, dual-timeline historical novel about the creation of one of Leonardo da Vinci's most famous paintings, Portrait of a Lady with an Ermine, and the woman who fought to save it from Nazi destruction during World War II.
Milan, 1492: When a 16-year old beauty becomes the mistress of the Duke of Milan, she must fight for her place in the palace—and against those who want her out. Soon, she finds herself sitting before Leonardo da Vinci, who wants to ensure his own place in the ducal palace by painting his most ambitious portrait to date.
Munich, World War II: After a modest conservator unwittingly places a priceless Italian Renaissance portrait into the hands of a high-ranking Nazi leader, she risks her life to recover it, working with an American soldier, part of the famed Monuments Men team, to get it back.
Two women, separated by 500 years, are swept up in the tide of history as one painting stands at the center of their quests for their own destinies.
"In a brilliantly written narrative that deftly cuts back and forth between the 15th and the 20th centuries, Morelli brings to vivid life the attempts by a German art restorer and an American soldier to rescue works of art from the destruction of war. This is a compelling story of two heroic people, of the young Cecelia who posed for Da Vinci, the artist, and the times they lived in. I am left with an affirmation of the crucial importance of art to a culture and the power of individual action."
— Frances Mayes, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Under the Tuscan Sun and Women in Sunlight
"The Night Portrait by Laura Morelli, which links Renaissance Italy and the crucible of World War Two in the most absorbing and innovative fashion, is also a novel of profound emotional resonance. A respected art historian, Morelli brings an exceptional depth of research and understanding to a story already made memorable by her beautiful prose. This is a truly original novel that has earned its place among my favorite works of historical fiction."
— Jennifer Robson, bestselling author of The Gown
"Laura Morelli’s The Night Portrait is simply a masterpiece. Morelli imagines a sophisticated plot, fleshes it out with historically significant characters, and spins it into a truly spectacular read. Rarely have I been so caught up in a book as I was with this unforgettable tale of bravery and love, hope and redemption. Fans of Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale and Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See will delight in this epic novel."
— Lori Nelson Spielman, international bestselling author
"Laura Morelli's The Night Portrait is a gorgeous and propulsive novel that brings to dramatic life the stories of Leonardo da Vinci, the subject of one of his most famous paintings, and the Monuments Men's quest to rescue that masterpiece from the Nazis during World War II. This stunning novel is a great masterpiece on its own, making you see old stories -- and old art -- in fresh, new ways. Perfect for any art lover or anyone who wants to understand why we all must care about the history of art."
— Stephanie Storey, author of Oil and Marble and Raphael, Painter in Rome
"The Night Portrait is an astonishing, epic tale that seamlessly spans centuries of history and art, encompassing the beauty of the Renaissance and the horrible truths of Nazi Germany. Masterfully imagined and unforgettable, this riveting novel shows us the power of art to bring hope in a world of despair."
— Crystal King, author of The Chef's Secret
"The Night Portrait is a compelling page turner at the same time as it is a mesmerizing meditation on legacy, guilt and complicity, the horrors of war, and most of all, the singular power of art. This well-researched and vivid novel is sure to thrill history buffs and art lovers alike."
— Alyssa Palombo, author of The Borgia Confessions