The book is set up in double-page spreads, each concentrating on one painting in full color, with additional small detail illustrations and explanatio...moreThe book is set up in double-page spreads, each concentrating on one painting in full color, with additional small detail illustrations and explanations. It covers the Renaissance in Italy chronologically from 1400-1600.
The beauty of this book is that it contains almost 400 pages of color illustrations. While it does not go into depth about any one artist, technique, or Italian history, it gives a good overview of the gorgeous art from the Renaissance in Italy.(less)
Cornelius, an old mathematics professor, invites an art professor to drop by to see a wonderful unsigned painting that had been looted by his deceased...moreCornelius, an old mathematics professor, invites an art professor to drop by to see a wonderful unsigned painting that had been looted by his deceased father during the German occupation of the Netherlands. He claims that the gorgeous painting is a Vermeer, and the art professor wonders why it is unknown and has no papers proving its authenticity. Cornelius is consumed with guilt concerning the actions of his Nazi father every time he looks at the painting, but he is also overwhelmed with its beauty.
In eight interlocking stories we are introduced to the fictional people who have posessed the exquisite painting of a young girl wearing a hyacinth blue smock and a wistful expression,lit by the light of an open window. The painting has a special meaning for each owner. Unfortunate events force the owners to either sell or lose the painting. The chapters trace the painting back to the artist and the young Dutch girl who sat for the portrait. In the last chapter, the girl, who is now middle-aged, is featured. She had never been given the opportunity to realize her dream of being creative and artistic like her artist father.
I liked the creative stories about each of the owners of the painting. Vermeer is one of my favorite artists so I could picture why the owners loved the marvelous painting, and how heartbroken they must have been to part with it. This is a book that any art lover would enjoy.(less)
Leaving Van Gogh: A Novel was told from the point of view of Dr Gachet, a physician with an interest in both mental illness and art. After Vincent Van...moreLeaving Van Gogh: A Novel was told from the point of view of Dr Gachet, a physician with an interest in both mental illness and art. After Vincent Van Gogh was released from an asylum, his brother Theo asked Dr Gachet to watch over him in Auvers where he would be painting. Dr Gachet carefully observed both Vincent and Theo for illness, but unfortunately medicine had no cure for their illnesses. Dr Gachet was a true friend to Vincent, bringing him into his home to visit and paint. I enjoyed the book, especially the details about the relationship between Vincent and Theo's family. I also enjoyed the wonderful descriptions about how Vincent painted. It was obvious that the author had also done a lot of research into mental illness and Nineteenth Century asylums.
The author's note at the end of the book said there was no historical evidence where the suicide weapon was obtained. But the story has Dr Gachet planting the weapon for Vincent to use. While it is fiction and there was no cure for Vincent's worsening mental state, it does seem to be taking a bit of a liberty having a doctor leave a gun for a patient. (less)
I was fortunate to receive this beautiful collection of poetry and artwork as a "first read". I intended to just read a couple of poems when it came i...moreI was fortunate to receive this beautiful collection of poetry and artwork as a "first read". I intended to just read a couple of poems when it came in the mail, but I found I could not put it down until I finished it.
Poet Judy Prescott wrote these poems as a tribute to her mother, Cecy, whose mind is slowly drifting away as Alzheimer's Disease takes over. Each poem is illustrated with artwork contributed by members of Cecy's family. An artwork by Anne Gresinger, a portion of which is shown on the cover, shows a woman painted in a vibrant orange with half of her head in a green shadow, showing the devastating effects of dementia. Other artwork depict scenes of Cecy's beloved Maine.
Judy Prescott's poems celebrate the life of a remarkable woman, and wonderful memories about the good times around the waterfront of Maine. I have found that the mourning period for someone with Alzheimer's starts before their death because you miss the person who forgets who you are and forgets your shared memories. Judy Prescott's poem "Proof" addresses these feelings that she has as a daughter. This book of poetry would be a wonderful gift to anyone who has a family member dealing with dementia.(less)
Mirelle Martin is a wife and mother trying to balance her domestic life with her creative life as a sculptress. She also has to assert herself with he...moreMirelle Martin is a wife and mother trying to balance her domestic life with her creative life as a sculptress. She also has to assert herself with her domineering mother-in-law who is upset that her son married the illegitimate daughter of an opera singer and a portrait painter.
"The Lucy" is a sculpture of her deceased friend, Lucy, who encouraged Mirelle to develop her artistic talent. Mirelle becomes a stronger person as she looks beyond her roles of wife and mother during an eventful year. Influenced by some new friends, including an attractive pianist, she becomes more involved with others in her Delaware community. She also carves out time for herself to work with clay.
Occasionally, the book which set in 1961 and written in 1986, felt a little dated. But overall, it held my interest.(less)
"Undercover work is like chess. You need to master your subject and stay one or two moves ahead of your opponent.....It's all about understanding huma...more"Undercover work is like chess. You need to master your subject and stay one or two moves ahead of your opponent.....It's all about understanding human nature--winning a person's trust and then taking advantage of it. You befriend, then betray."
Robert Wittman's memoir of his twenty years as an art detective for the FBI was fascinating. He traveled around the world recovering hundreds of millions of dollars of stolen art. The author points out that a part of our history and our culture is lost whenever art and antiquities are stolen. He also founded and trained the FBI's Art Crime Team.
John Shiffman, an investigative reporter, worked as a team with Robert Wittman to write this informative and entertaining look at art theft, FBI undercover work, and government bureaucracy.(less)