Monday, February 8, 2010
Dear Great Book Guru, Friends of mine are raving about a lecture sponsored by the Sea Cliff Library last week about the Spanish painter Velazquez. I am sorry I missed it since I will be visiting Spain in April, and I would like to learn something about its artists and cities. Do you have any suggestions? Spring Tourist
Dear Spring Tourist, I was at Ines Powell's lecture too and your friends were right: it was fabulous. Ines is a renowned lecturer and educator at the Metropolitan Museum and a beloved Sea Cliff resident. Coincidentally, after the lecture, the Murrays, who are also traveling to Spain asked for some book suggestions. Here's what I told them- first, HOMAGE TO BARCELONA by Colm Toibin is a fascinating description of this beautiful city- its history, its art, its essence. ( Toibin, who is also the author of the current bestseller BROOKLYN, is going to be the subject of a lecture given by Maureen Murphy, Irish literature expert, on March 11 at 7:30 at the Sea Cliff Library) Another must read is the SPANISH GAME by Charles Cumming. This book is a fast moving spy novel set largely in Madrid. In reading this book, you find yourself quickly immersed in the daily life of the city and its inhabitants. Finally, you should read VELAZQUEZ- TECHNIQUE OF GENIUS by Jonathan Brown. Thirty paintings are discussed in wonderful detail and all but two of them are on display at the Prado Museum in Madrid. Also, while I do not pretend to be the Great Movie Guru, I would recommend seeing Woody Allen's VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA, a beautiful presentation of the city. Happy travels!