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Review: The Ruby Ring

Setting: Rome
Period: 1515 to 1520
The relationship between the great Renaissance artist, Raffaello Sanzio and his mistress and secret fiancée, Margherita Luti, is the subject of this intriguing historical fiction tale, The Ruby Ring, by Diane Haeger.

Set in Rome, starting circa 1515 AD, the story gives context to the painting La Fornarina, which is featured on the cover. This enigmatic painting often cited as Raffaello’s most innovative and daring work of art, equal only to the Mona Lisa, was recently restored to its full glory and can now be seen on display at the Palazzo Barberini in Rome. Her direct gaze fixes on the viewer and challenges you to wonder what she is thinking while making it difficult to look away. A copy of it also resides in the Galleria Borghese, but with less detail than the original.

During restoration in 2001, an underpainting of a ring was discovered, halfway down her left ring finger on the hand in her lap, and is once again visible.