I wasn't sure I would like this book. When I visit art museums, I enter rooms of medieval art more from a sense of duty than from love.
I picked it up anyway, because of the compelling list on the dust jacket, of torments the Ghent Altarpiece has endured and survived: it's been stolen 13 times, and that's the least of the dangers it has faced.
I'm so glad I read this book. Charney's enthusiasm for art and history is infectious. I used to think the paintings hanging on museum walls had, somehow, always been right where they were, there to be learned from and enjoyed by all. But the book showed me that many of the works of art we see today are hardy survivors. He opened my eyes to the stories of art and gave me a whole new way to appreciate what I see, not just for its beauty or how it speaks to my soul, but for its story as a physical object that has stood the test of time.