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"She was discovered on a rocky Greek island, but, as Gregory Curtis writes, "like so many other provincials who were blessed with talent, intelligence or beauty, her life did not really begin until she arrived in Paris.... " In "Disarmed," the tale of that singular armless Greek statue known as the Venus de Milo is narrated in clear-as-water prose by Curtis, a former editor of Texas Monthly. The book never feels padded, as do so many cultural histories that shave off an extremely thin slice of the world and inspect it from every possible angle. Rather, Curtis manages to spin out lively digressions on the origins of art history and the deductive methods art historians use to identify a work; on early 19th century French politics and culture; on the tempestuous fortunes of the Louvre; on the myth of Venus (to the Greeks, she was Aphrodite), goddess of love and female sexuality. And he introduces us, in precise capsule biographies, to the sailors, scholars, curators and politicos who have crossed paths with the statue."
Newsday Online 11/09/2003

"The Venus De Milo receives throngs of admirers every day in the Louvre, her white marble luminescent, her pose enigmatic since no one knows what pose her missing arms once took. Every bit as iconic as the Mona Lisa, this powerful Greek statue has elicited far less modern research. This combination of ubiquitousness and invisibility inspired Curtis to take a fresh approach to the deliciously convoluted tale of the stone goddess' discovery by a French naval ensign on the unlovely Aegean island of Melos in 1820, and all the anxious and nefarious wrangling, debate, and controversy that followed, including the convenient disappearance of an inscribed base that attributed the statue not to one of Greece's golden age sculptors, as claimed, but rather to "nobody" working in the civilizations declining years. His pleasure in his complex subject palpable on every sparkling page, Curtis parses nineteenth-century Europe's fervor for all things classical, provides gossipy profiles of amazingly eccentric officials, and, finally, reviews our appreciation for a masterpiece as beautiful as it is mysterious."
Adult Nonfiction 10/01/2003

"Mr. Curtis' story is filled with striking and compelling characters, many of them esteemed scholars and cultural figures eclipsed and discredited today, all of whom he treats with the evenest of hands. One of the chief pleasures of this lively and engaging book is its author's empathy with, and compassion for, these figures of the benighted past."

"Most engaging, however is the story of how an obscure statue, probably a copy, not mentioned in any ancient text, has so powerfully captured and held the public imagination."
The Dallas Morning News 10/03/2003

"Curtis' new book, "Disarmed," is a work of investigative art history that penetrates the veil of mystery long surrounding one of the world's greatest works of art - one of the true icons of the art world - the Venus De Milo. It is also a story of political intrigue that, surprisingly, has never been told."
Express-New Book Editor 10/05/2003

"Curtis is a Texas-based magazine writer and editor who brings to the story of one of the most engaging pieces of art on earth an open mind and an innocence of artspeak or any of the other often stultifying predispositions that too often constitute a heavy price for reading about art. The resulting book is fresh, full of adventure, conflict, and a sense of discovery. Perhaps the most famous statue on earth, the Milo Venus reached the Louvre, the property of the French nation, through deeply disputable wrangling and worse that began immediately after its discovery on the island of Melos in 1820. Curtis reaches out to offer his own reasonably persuasive answer to the riddle of who the sculptor was. He does a creditable job of laying out just why the piece is of paramount beauty and importance."
Baltimore Sun, 10/05/2003

"Curtis has a gift of making the ideas, passions and personalities of scholars like Winckelmann come alive, and the story becomes even more dramatic in the latter part of the 19th century, when another great German scholar, Adloph Furtwangler (father of the famous conductor), made the case for Alexandrous and the later era. Curtis also provides a colorful portrait of Furtwangler's friendly rival and intellectual sparring partner, Saloman Reinach, a French Jewish polymath."

"Unlike Reinach, Furtwangler and the other brilliant and passionate 19th century scholars, many of our contemporary scholars, Curtis notes, adopt a snide and superior attitude toward this great work of art. But thanks to this engaging book, in which Curtis also gives us his own, very sensible, theories about the statue, we now have an enthusiastic and enlightening guide to one of the most awe-inspiring specimens of beauty ever created."
Los Angeles Times 10/13/2003

"Curtis, a former editor of Texas Monthly magazine is a writer of genius wit, who packs his book with delicious portraits of the scholars, writers, artists and politicians who contributed to the mythologizing of the Venus de Milo. I was completely taken with this book."
San Jose Mercury News 10/19/2003

"Never judge a book by its cover - or its groaner title. Curtis's story of the world's most famous statue is part thriller (smuggling her of the island of Melos in 1820), part art history (who carved her and when), part rumination on the Greeks (who wondered if it was beauty that lifted humankind above brute nature). Curtis, who first visited Melos this March, writes faster and better than just about any academic art historian - and makes you ling for the days when Frances's big issue with Britain was who had better art in its national museum."
Newsweek 10/20/2003

"The Venus de Milo's naked breasts, missing, arms, and impressive expression have tattooed themselves on the popular imagination. Mysterious women can do that. In this colorful history of the statue and the riddles surrounding her,m Curtis breathers warm life into this icon of female inscrutability."
Men's Journal 11/2003