James Hall's The Self-Portrait: A Cultural History (London: Thames & Hudson, Ltd., 2014) is a really interesting assessment of self-portrait painting as a cultural phenomenon. It's well thought-out, researched, and written, and I greatly appreciated it.
I just finished reading a book that told a wild, but true story about a work of art. Laura Cumming's The Vanishing Velasquez: A 19th-Century Bookseller's Obsession with a Lost Masterpiece tells the story of an English bookseller who believed that he owned a lost masterpiece by Spanish artist Diego Velasquez. It ends with a huge, still-unsolved mystery.
If you enjoy the works of J.M.W. Turner (as I do) and want to know more about him, I suggest reading Franny Moyle's Turner: The Extraordinary Life & Momentous Times of J.M.W. Turner (New York: Penguin Press, 2016). It's a detailed and comprehensive book about Turner's life, art, personality, and career. This post is about some of the things I learned from the book.
A few words about Victoria Finlay's Color: A Natural History of the Palette. Finlay travelled all across the world to research historical sources of color pigments. Her book is full of surprising and sometimes alarming facts.
John Singer Sargent's 1882 painting The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit is compelling and a bit mysterious. While reading Erica Hirshler's book about the painting, I learned that interpretations of the work have changed over time, and Sargent's contemporaries didn't read the same tone into it that we do.
Giorgio Vasari is considered to be the father of art history. In the mid-16th century, he wrote a set of biographies of Italy's most important artists and architects. It's been influential ever since then. A new biography of Vasari, published in 2017, takes a complete look at Vasari's life and work as both an artist and writer.
My review of a fascinating book, Rogue's Gallery, about the history of art dealers. As it turns out, it's not just the artists who have big personalities, and art dealers have affected art history a lot. A fun and informative book.
A few quick thoughts on Michael Findlay's book Seeing Slowly: Looking at Modern Art, about enjoying modern and contemporary art.
My thoughts on Meetings With Remarkable Manuscripts, a really excellent and informative book about twelve, world-class medieval manuscripts.
While stocking up on books for an impending snow storm, I found Jonathan Harr's The Lost Painting: The Quest for a Caravaggio Masterpiece (Random House, 2006) on the library shelf and picked it up on a whim. During the actual storm the following day, I devoured the entire book in a few hours and only wished it were longer (the… Continue reading The Lost Painting by Jonathan Harr