General Ojukwu and Me

General Ojukwu and Me

by Marta Maretich General Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu died on November 26, 2011—and, with him died a small piece of my history. Ojukwu couldn't have known it, but he is partly responsible for the person I am today. The General and I go all the way back. As a young...

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The Mysterious Double Career of Domenico Tiepolo

The Mysterious Double Career of Domenico Tiepolo

Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo is an artist with two distinct parts to his career. The first part is conventional, predictable and public. The second part is enigmatic, comical and mostly private. So distinct are these two phases, and so different are the artworks that come out of them, that it’s best to consider them one at a time.

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The Problem With Being the Youngest Tiepolo

The Problem With Being the Youngest Tiepolo

Lorenzo was born at a good moment in Tiepolo history. He grew up in prosperous circumstances, surrounded by his six siblings at a time when his father was at the height of his fame and productivity. His oldest brother Domenico, nine years his senior, followed Tiepolo into the family business. Lorenzo did the same, serving his apprenticeship in his father’s busy studio and eventually becoming the third member of the famous family painting team. Sadly, the painter’s son who started life under such auspicious circumstances was to end it quite differently.

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Dishing the Dirt: Why Gossip is as Important as Fact in Historical Fiction

Dishing the Dirt: Why Gossip is as Important as Fact in Historical Fiction

Nobody knows much about Maria Cecilia Guardi Tiepolo, one of the central narrators of my historical novel, The Merchants of Light.

It seems strange to say this about the woman who I spent so much time writing about. It seems even stranger when you consider how familiar her proud face and lush, womanly body are to us from hundreds of drawings and paintings by her husband, Giambattista Tiepolo. You’d think we’d know something about such a visible woman. Yet documentary evidence of her life was so hard to come by I had to turn to the next best thing: Gossip.

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John D. Skilton: The Forgotten Monuments Man and Why We Should Honor Him

John D. Skilton: The Forgotten Monuments Man and Why We Should Honor Him

If ever there was an unlikely-likely hero, it was John D. Skilton Jr. The first of the five narrators of my book, The Merchants of Light, he was also my most unexpected discovery. I had no plans to include a modern voice in this historical novel about an 18th century painting family, the Tiepolos. But Skilton, once I found him, demanded a place in the story. All the screenwriters of Hollywood could not have invented a character so right for the role he played in rescuing Tiepolo’s masterpiece for posterity. Skilton was a gift. I had to let him in.

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