Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Dear Great Book Guru, I just came back from a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and would like to read something about paintings. Do you have anything to recommend? An Art Lover in the Making

Dear Art- Of course I have something for you- actually two great books that I know you’ll love. The first is THE LOST PAINTING by Jonathan Harr. This book while non-fiction reads like a well crafted , highly suspenseful mystery. The author who also wrote that environmental and legal thriller CIVIL ACTION traces a young art researcher’s quest to locate a missing Caravaggio- missing for centuries! We travel throughout Europe where Harr interviews a wide array of colorful and , yes, some very unscrupulous characters of the art world. Finally, the work” The Taking of Christ” is found in Ireland and then begins the tale of its restoration and finally the effect on the fortunes of those who own it. The details are beautiful and as a bonus, we learn a great deal about the Baroque giant that was Caravaggio. My second recommendation is the novel HEADLONG by Michael Frayn. While at the Metropolitan Museum, I’m sure you saw The Harvesters by Bruegel. It is one of the Met’s most popular paintings. Well, the premise of HEADLONG is that there was a series of twelve paintings of the seasons ( The Harvesters would have been late autumn)and one has been lost for centuries and has been unwittingly discovered by the book’s hero in an old country farmhouse. His attempts to profit from this discovery make for a hilarious, intellectually stimulating journey through the world of the Dutch Masters and modern day thievery. Both these books are available through Sea Cliff Library so get reading, my friend!

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