Quattrocento (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

I found everything I love about a novel in Quattrocento by violinmaker James McKean. There is music, theoretical physics, and pre-Renaissance art expertise woven into an understated romantic story line. The plot involves the fluidity of time between the present and past, perception of the laws of nature, and how individuals exist within the universe. These brain stretching concepts go down easily with a lovely story set in the herb-scented hills of Italy's past and the intriguing art world of present day New York. This book is layered like the glazes and pigments the artists of the Quattrocento period used. I found it breathtaking. — Karen Frank


Matt O’Brien, an assistant curator and art restorer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, has always been passionate about the Italian Renaissance. But when he discovers a long-neglected portrait of a beautiful woman among the museum’s miles of storage bins, he becomes obsessed--and not only because he suspects that the painting is by Leonardo da Vinci. Something about the mysterious woman’s exquisite face stirs his memory, and when Matt finds himself spun across the centuries into Quattrocento Italy, where he arrives perfectly attired in 15th century clothing, he appears to be free to pursue her.

A magically woven, richly detailed debut, Quattrocento tells an unforgettable tale of art, and love, and the unexpected places places where they meet.

About the Author

James McKean has been a violinmaker in New York for more than twenty years. His instruments have won numerous awards and can be heard on concert stages around the world. A recent cello was on view at the American Craft Museum as part of a landmark exhibit on craftwork at the millennium. He is also a contributing editor to Strings magazine, where his articles appear regularly. He lives in Connecticut with his family.

Praise For…

"The strength of Quattrocento lies in its scope and fearlessness." --The Philadelphia Inquirer

"An intriguing first novel, rich with historical detail and combining art, physics, time travel and a love story." --Booklist

"Jim McKean appears out of nowhere to fashion a high-caliber, genre-busting, page-turning romp between two passionate artists who literally challenge the laws of nature in order to be together. Bravo" --Jenny McPhee, author of The Center of Things

Product Details
ISBN: 9780385721301
ISBN-10: 0385721307
Publisher: Anchor
Publication Date: November 11th, 2003
Pages: 320
Language: English