An extraordinary story of passion, art, and intrigue, this novel journeys to a time and place in Italy where desire reigns supreme—and salvation is found in the strangest of places.
Beauty can be a gift—or a wicked temptation.
So it is for Filippo Lippi, growing up in Renaissance Florence. He has a talent—not only can he see the beauty in everything, he can capture it, paint it. But while beauty can seduce you and art can transport you—it cannot always feed you or protect you.
To survive, Pippo Lippi, orphan, street urchin, budding rogue, must first become Fra Filippo Lippi: Carmelite friar, man of God. His life will take him down two paths at once. He will become a gambler, a forger, a seducer of nuns; and at the same time he will be the greatest painter of his time, the teacher of Botticelli and the confidante of the Medicis.
So who is he really—lover, believer, father, teacher, artist? Is anything true except the paintings?
An extraordinary journey of passion, art and intrigue, The Painter of Souls takes us to a time and place in Italy's history where desire reigns and salvation is found in the strangest of places.
"Kazan conjures up Florence as a magnificent stew of street life: market sellers, beggars, gangs, petty criminals, pretty boys turning tricks in the shadows, all characters who, in the hands of the right painter, might light up church walls with their spontaneous flawed humanity. The process of creation is finely drawn, both the physical labor and the meditative concentration it induces. Kazan clearly loves Lippi’s work and this affection saturates his writing."
– The New York Times
"A compelling story that takes place in a world that Kazan imbues with all the sights, sounds, and smells of fifteenth-century Florence."
"Kazan’s ability to conjure the majesty and misery of the Renaissance in Florence makes The Painter of Souls one of my most cherished reads of the year. The Fra Lippi lovingly drawn by Kazan’s pen is as gorgeous as the subjects of the artist’s famous paintings."
– The Times (London)
"With meticulous detail and vivid language, British author Kazan (Appetite) brings the Renaissance to bold life in this, his first U.S. release. Sure to appeal to fans of art-themed historical fiction."
– Library Journal
"Kazan has built a beautiful novel, lit from within by the luminosity of the art he describes. Kazan effectively draws the reader into the world of Renaissance Florence in all its glory and squalor. His main characters are believable and complex, and the language he uses is precise and luminous."