The Vanishing Velázquez

A 19th Century Bookseller's Obsession with a Lost Masterpiece

Author: Laura Cumming

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

ISBN: 147676218X

Category: Art

Page: 320

View: 8104

From one of the world's most expert art critics, the incredible true story--part art history and part mystery--of a Velázquez portrait that went missing and the obsessed nineteenth-century bookseller determined to prove he had found it. When John Snare, a nineteenth-century provincial bookseller, traveled to a liquidation auction, he stumbled on a vivid portrait of King Charles I that defied any explanation. The Charles of the painting was young--too young to be king--and yet also too young to be painted by the Flemish painter to which the work was attributed. Snare had found something incredible--but what? His research brought him to Diego Velázquez, whose long-lost portrait of Prince Charles has eluded art experts for generations. Velázquez (1599-1660) was the official painter of the Madrid court, during the time the Spanish Empire teetered on the edge of collapse. When Prince Charles of England--a man wealthy enough to help turn Spain's fortunes--ventured to the court to propose a marriage with a Spanish princess, he allowed just a few hours to sit for his portrait. Snare believed only Velázquez could have met this challenge. But in making his theory public, Snare was ostracized, victim to aristocrats and critics who accused him of fraud, and forced to choose, like Velázquez himself, between art and family. A thrilling investigation into the complex meaning of authenticity and the unshakable determination that drives both artists and collectors of their work, The Vanishing Velázquez travels from extravagant Spanish courts in the 1700s to the gritty courtrooms and auction houses of nineteenth-century London and New York. But it is above all a tale of mystery and detection, of tragic mishaps and mistaken identities, of class, politics, snobbery, crime, and almost farcical accident. It is a magnificently crafted page-turner, a testimony to how and why great works of art can affect us to the point of obsession.

The Vanishing Velázquez

A 19th Century Bookseller's Obsession with a Lost Masterpiece

Author: Laura Cumming

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

ISBN: 1476762163

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 304

View: 8785

“As compelling and entertaining as a detective novel” (The Economist), the incredible true story—part art history and part mystery—of a Velázquez portrait that went missing and the obsessed nineteenth-century bookseller determined to prove he had found it. When John Snare, a nineteenth century provincial bookseller, traveled to a liquidation auction, he found a vivid portrait of King Charles I that defied any explanation. The Charles of the painting was young—too young to be king—and yet also too young to be painted by the Flemish painter to whom the piece was attributed. Snare had found something incredible—but what? His research brought him to Diego Velázquez, whose long-lost portrait of Prince Charles has eluded art experts for generations. Velázquez (1599–1660) was the official painter of the Madrid court, during the time the Spanish Empire teetered on the edge of collapse. When Prince Charles of England—a man wealthy enough to help turn Spain’s fortunes—proposed a marriage with a Spanish princess, he allowed just a few hours to sit for his portrait, and Snare believed only Velázquez could have been the artist of choice. But in making his theory public, Snare was ostracized and forced to choose, like Velázquez himself, between art and family. A thrilling investigation into the complex meaning of authenticity and the unshakable determination that drives both artists and collectors of their work, The Vanishing Velázquez is a “brilliant” (The Atlantic) tale of mystery and detection, of tragic mishaps and mistaken identities, of class, politics, snobbery, crime, and almost farcical accident that reveals how one historic masterpiece was crafted and lost, and how far one man would go to redeem it. Laura Cumming’s book is “sumptuous...A gleaming work of someone at the peak of her craft” (The New York Times).

The Vanishing Man

In Pursuit of Velazquez

Author: Laura Cumming

Publisher: Random House

ISBN: 1448182360

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 320

View: 9278

WINNER OF THE JAMES TAIT BLACK BIOGRAPHY PRIZE SHORTLISTED FOR THE RATHBONES FOLIO PRIZE LONGLISTED FOR THE BAILLIE GIFFORD PRIZE FOR NON-FICTION In 1845, a Reading bookseller named John Snare came across the dirt-blackened portrait of a prince at a country house auction. Suspecting that it might be a long-lost Velázquez, he bought the picture and set out to discover its strange history - a quest that led from fame to ruin and exile. Fusing detection and biography, this book shows how and why great works of art can affect us, even to the point of mania. And on the trail of John Snare, Cumming makes a surprising discovery of her own. But most movingly, The Vanishing Man is an eloquent and passionate homage to the Spanish master Velázquez, bringing us closer to the creation and appreciation of his works than ever before.

A Face to the World: On Self-Portraits

Author: Laura Cumming

Publisher: HarperCollins UK

ISBN: 0007391943

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 320

View: 9460

Focusing on the art of self-portraiture, this effortlessly engaging exploration of the lives of artists sheds fascinating light on some of the most extraordinary portraits in art history.

The Vanishing Man

In Pursuit of Velázquez

Author: Laura Cumming

Publisher: Vintage

ISBN: 9780099587040

Category:

Page: 320

View: 2558

In 1845, a Reading bookseller named John Snare came across the dirt-blackened portrait of a prince at a country house auction. Suspecting that it might be a long-lost Velázquez, he bought the picture and set out to discover its strange history - a quest that led from fame to ruin and exile. Fusing detection and biography, this book shows how and why great works of art can affect us, even to the point of mania. And on the trail of John Snare, Cumming makes a surprising discovery of her own. But most movingly, The Vanishing Man is an eloquent and passionate homage to the Spanish master Velázquez, bringing us closer to the creation and appreciation of his works than ever before.

Painter to the King

Author: Amy Sackville

Publisher: Granta Books

ISBN: 1783783915

Category: Fiction

Page: N.A

View: 738

This is a portrait of Diego Velzquez, from his arrival at the court of King Philip IV of Spain, to his death 38 years and scores of paintings later. It is a portrait of a relationship that is not quite a friendship, between an artist and his subject. It is a portrait of a ruler, always on duty, and increasingly burdened by a life of public expectation and repeated private grief. And it is a portrait of a court collapsing under the weight of its own excess. Unfolding through series of masterly set-pieces and glancing sketches, this is a novel of brilliance, imagination and sheer style -- about what is shown and what is seen, about art and life.

Everything is Happening

Journey into a Painting

Author: Michael Jacobs

Publisher: Granta Books

ISBN: 1847088090

Category: Travel

Page: N.A

View: 2025

Michael Jacobs was haunted by Velázquez's enigmatic masterpiece Las Meninas from first encountering it in the Prado as a teenager. In Everything is Happening Jacobs searches for the ultimate significance of the painting by following the trails of associations from each individual character in the picture, as well as his own memories of and relationship to this extraordinary work. From Jacobs' first trip to Spain, to the complex politics of Golden Age Madrid, to his meeting with the man who saved Las Meninas during the Spanish Civil war, via Jacobs' experiences of the sunless world of the art history academy, Jacobs' dissolves the barriers between the past and the present, the real and the illusory. Cut short by Jacobs' death in 2014, and completed with an introduction and coda of great sensitivity and insight by his friend and fellow lover of art, the journalist Ed Vulliamy, this visionary, meditative and often very funny book is a passionate, personal manifesto for the liberation of how we look at painting.

Thinking About Art

A Thematic Guide to Art History

Author: Penny Huntsman

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 1118905202

Category: Art

Page: 304

View: 8901

Thinking about Art explores some of the greatest works of art and architecture in the world through the prism of themes, instead of chronology, to offer intriguing juxtapositions of art and history. The book ranges across time and topics, from the Parthenon to the present day and from patronage to ethnicity, to reveal art history in new and varied lights. With over 200 colour illustrations and a wealth of formal and contextual analysis, Thinking about Art is a companion guide for art lovers, students and the general reader, and is also the first A-level Art History textbook, written by a skilled and experienced teacher of art history, Penny Huntsman. The book is accompanied by a companion website at www.wiley.com/go/thinkingaboutart.

The Long Room

Author: Francesca Kay

Publisher: Tin House Books

ISBN: 1941040462

Category: Fiction

Page: 304

View: 3902

Award-winning novelist Francesca Kay's new novel tells the story of a man who falls for the wrong woman. London. December 1981. The IRA is on the attack, a cold war is being waged, another war is just over the horizon, and Stephen Donaldson spends his days listening. When he first joined the Institute, he expected to encounter glamorous, high-risk espionage. Instead he gets the tape-recorded conversations of ancient Communists and ineffectual revolutionaries--until the day he is assigned a new case: the ultra-secret PHOENIX, a suspected internal leak. The monotony of Stephen’s routine is broken, but it’s not PHOENIX who captures his imagination; it’s the target’s wife, Helen. Beset by isolation and loneliness, Stephen becomes dangerously obsessed with Helen, risking his job to keep his fragile connection to her and inadvertently setting himself up for a fall that will forever change his life. With compassion and tenderness and moments of unexpected humor, Francesca Kay charts the way in which imagination, projection, and desire overwhelm the paucity of Stephen’s life and identity. As beautiful as it is intense, The Long Room explores a mind under pressure and the wilder cravings of the heart.

The White Road

Journey into an Obsession

Author: Edmund de Waal

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

ISBN: 0374709092

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 416

View: 2686

An intimate narrative history of porcelain, structured around five journeys through landscapes where porcelain was dreamed about, fired, refined, collected, and coveted. Extraordinary new nonfiction, a gripping blend of history and memoir, by the author of the award-winning and bestselling international sensation, The Hare with the Amber Eyes. In The White Road, bestselling author and artist Edmund de Waal gives us an intimate narrative history of his lifelong obsession with porcelain, or "white gold." A potter who has been working with porcelain for more than forty years, de Waal describes how he set out on five journeys to places where porcelain was dreamed about, refined, collected and coveted-and that would help him understand the clay's mysterious allure. From his studio in London, he starts by travelling to three "white hills"-sites in China, Germany and England that are key to porcelain's creation. But his search eventually takes him around the globe and reveals more than a history of cups and figurines; rather, he is forced to confront some of the darkest moments of twentieth-century history. Part memoir, part history, part detective story, The White Road chronicles a global obsession with alchemy, art, wealth, craft, and purity. In a sweeping yet intimate style that recalls The Hare with the Amber Eyes, de Waal gives us a singular understanding of "the spectrum of porcelain" and the mapping of desire.

Guilty Thing

A Life of Thomas De Quincey

Author: Frances Wilson

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

ISBN: 0374710414

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 416

View: 8337

National Book Critics Circle Award, Biographers International Organization Plutarch Award and Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist New York Times Book Review, Times Literary Supplement and The Guardian Best Books of 2016 Thomas De Quincey was an obsessive. He was obsessed with Wordsworth and Coleridge, whose Lyrical Ballads provided the script to his life, and by the idea of sudden death. Running away from school to pursue the two poets, De Quincey insinuated himself into their world. Basing his sensibility on Wordsworth’s and his character on Coleridge’s, he forged a triangle of unusual psychological complexity. Aged twenty-four, De Quincey replaced Wordsworth as the tenant of Dove Cottage, the poet’s former residence in Grasmere. In this idyllic spot he followed the reports of the notorious Ratcliffe Highway murders of 1811, when two families, including a baby, were butchered in their own homes. In his opium-soaked imagination the murderer became a poet while the poet became a murderer. Embedded in On Murder as One of the Fine Arts, De Quincey’s brilliant series of essays, Frances Wilson finds the startling story of his relationships with Wordsworth and Coleridge. Opium was the making of De Quincey, allowing him to dissolve self-conflict, eliminate self-recrimination, and divest himself of guilt. Opium also allowed him to write, and under the pseudonym “The Opium-Eater” De Quincey emerged as the strangest and most original journalist of his age. His influence has been considerable. Poe became his double; Dostoevsky went into exile with Confessions of an English Opium-Eater in his pocket; and Charles Dickens, Oscar Wilde, George Orwell, Alfred Hitchcock, and Vladimir Nabokov were all De Quincey devotees. There have been other biographies of Thomas De Quincey, but Guilty Thing is the first to be animated by the spirit of De Quincey himself. Following the growth of his obsessions from seed to full flowering and tracing the ways they intertwined, Frances Wilson finds the master key to De Quincey’s vast Piranesian mind. Unraveling a tale of hero worship and revenge, Guilty Thing brings the last of the Romantics roaring back to life and firmly establishes Wilson as one of our foremost contemporary biographers.

Louisa

The Extraordinary Life of Mrs. Adams

Author: Louisa Thomas

Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 1101980826

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 512

View: 8229

An intimate portrait of Louisa Catherine Adams, the wife of John Quincy Adams, who witnessed firsthand the greatest transformations of her time Born in London to an American father and a British mother on the eve of the Revolutionary War, Louisa Catherine Johnson was raised in circumstances very different from the New England upbringing of the future president John Quincy Adams, whose life had been dedicated to public service from the earliest age. And yet John Quincy fell in love with her, almost despite himself. Their often tempestuous but deeply close marriage lasted half a century. They lived in Prussia, Massachusetts, Washington, Russia, and England, at royal courts, on farms, in cities, and in the White House. Louisa saw more of Europe and America than nearly any other woman of her time. But wherever she lived, she was always pressing her nose against the glass, not quite sure whether she was looking in or out. The other members of the Adams family could take their identity for granted—they were Adamses; they were Americans—but she had to invent her own. The story of Louisa Catherine Adams is one of a woman who forged a sense of self. As the country her husband led found its place in the world, she found a voice. That voice resonates still. In this deeply felt biography, the talented journalist and historian Louisa Thomas finally gives Louisa Catherine Adams's full extraordinary life its due. An intimate portrait of a remarkable woman, a complicated marriage, and a pivotal historical moment, Louisa Thomas's biography is a masterful work from an elegant storyteller. From the Hardcover edition.

Traces of Vermeer

Author: Jane Jelley

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0198789726

Category:

Page: 368

View: 9646

Johannes Vermeer's luminous paintings are loved and admired around the world, yet we do not understand how they were made. We see sunlit spaces; the glimmer of satin, silver, and linen; we see the softness of a hand on a lute string or letter. We recognise the distilled impression of a moment of time; and we feel it to be real. We might hope for some answers from the experts, but they are confounded too. Even with the modern technology available, they do not know why there is no evidence of any preliminary drawing; why there are shifts in focus; and why his pictures are unusually blurred. Some wonder if he might possibly have used a camera obscura to capture what he saw before him. The few traces Vermeer has left behind tell us little: there are no letters or diaries; and no reports of him at work. Jane Jelley has taken a new path in this detective story. A painter herself, she has worked with the materials of his time: the cochineal insect and lapis lazuli; the sheep bones, soot, earth and rust. She shows us how painters made their pictures layer by layer; she investigates old secrets; and hears travellers' tales. She explores how Vermeer could have used a lens in the creation of his masterpieces. The clues were there all along. After all this time, now we can unlock the studio door, and catch a glimpse of Vermeer inside, painting light.

Slave Portraiture in the Atlantic World

Author: Agnes Lugo-Ortiz,Angela Rosenthal

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 1107354781

Category: History

Page: N.A

View: 7919

Slave Portraiture in the Atlantic World is the first book to focus on the individualized portrayal of enslaved people from the time of Europe's full engagement with plantation slavery in the late sixteenth century to its final official abolition in Brazil in 1888. While this period saw the emergence of portraiture as a major field of representation in Western art, 'slave' and 'portraiture' as categories appear to be mutually exclusive. On the one hand, the logic of chattel slavery sought to render the slave's body as an instrument for production, as the site of a non-subject. Portraiture, on the contrary, privileged the face as the primary visual matrix for the representation of a distinct individuality. Essays address this apparent paradox of 'slave portraits' from a variety of interdisciplinary perspectives, probing the historical conditions that made the creation of such rare and enigmatic objects possible and exploring their implications for a more complex understanding of power relations under slavery.

What are You Looking At?

150 Years of Modern Art in the Blink of an Eye

Author: Will Gompertz

Publisher: Penguin UK

ISBN: 0670920495

Category: Art movements

Page: 435

View: 1278

What is modern art? Why do we either love it or loathe it? And why is it worth so much damn money? Join Will Gompertz, the BBC Arts Editor, and probably the world's first art history stand-up comedian, on a dazzling tour that will change the way you look at modern art forever. From Monet's water lilies to Van Gogh's sunflowers, from Warhol's soup cans to Hirst's pickled shark, hear the stories behind the masterpieces, meet the artists as they really were, and discover the real point of modern art. You will learn: Conceptual art isn't rubbish Picasso is a genius (but Cézanne might be better) Pollock is no drip Cubism has no cubes A urinal changed the course of art And why your five-year-old really couldn't do it Refreshing, irreverent and always straightforward, What Are You Looking At? cuts through the pretentious art speak and asks all the basic questions that you were too embarrassed to. After reading this, your next gallery or museum visit is going to be a little less intimidating, and a lot more interesting.

Walter's War and the Compassionate Heart

Author: Helen O'Leary

Publisher: Lulu.com

ISBN: 9780244340094

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 438

View: 1583

From a Victorian childhood, through the early part of World War One with a cycling regiment in Devon, to subsequent adventures in India and Mesopotamia, a young soldier's progress through life is recalled by family memories, diaries and letters. The skills he acquires enable him to make his way in the world. However this is a true story, so there is poignancy and disappointment as well as love and happiness. About the Author With her imagination fed by Walter's bedtime stories, Helen became an advertising copywriter in London before Tom, a wild Irishman, whisked her off to Spain where they played bad golf and enjoyed life. Writing and NADFAS (The Arts Society) became a lifeline when Tom died. She now shares her life with a local cat who is no good at fostering her ambition to understand the language well enough to get to the end of all the books she'd love to read in the original Spanish.

Travelling Concepts in the Humanities

A Rough Guide

Author: Mieke Bal

Publisher: University of Toronto Press

ISBN: 1442690453

Category: Social Science

Page: 432

View: 5145

Attempting to bridge the gap between specialised scholarship in the humanistic disciplines and an interdisciplinary project of cultural analysis, Mieke Bal has written an intellectual travel guide that charts the course 'beyond' cultural studies. As with any guide, it can be used in a number of ways and the reader can follow or willfully ignore any of the paths it maps or signposts. Bal's focus for this book is the idea that interdisciplinarity in the humanities - necessary, exciting, serious - must seek its heuristic and methodological basis in concepts rather than its methods. Concepts are not grids to put over an object. The counterpart of any given concept is the cultural text or work or 'thing' that constitutes the object of analysis. No concept is meaningful for cultural analysis unless it helps us to understand the object better on its own terms. Bal offers the reader a sustained theoretical reflection on how to 'do' cultural analysis through a tentative practice of doing just that. This offers a concrete practice to theoretical constructs, and allows the proposed method more accessibility. Please note: illustrations have been removed from the ebook at the request of the rightsholder.

The Annotated Mona Lisa

A Crash Course in Art History from Prehistoric to Post-Modern

Author: Carol Strickland,John Boswell

Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing

ISBN: 9780740768729

Category: Art

Page: 216

View: 4667

Presents the history of art from prehistoric times to the present day, describes major artists and movements, and details the influence of art on society through the ages.

Wooden Eyes

Nine Reflections on Distance

Author: Carlo Ginzburg,Martin H. Ryle,Kate Soper

Publisher: Columbia University Press

ISBN: 9780231119603

Category: History

Page: 261

View: 4399

Home to the New York Yankees, the Bronx Zoo, and the Grand Concourse, the Bronx was at one time a haven for upwardly mobile second-generation immigrants eager to leave the crowded tenements of Manhattan in pursuit of the American dream. Once hailed as a "wonder borough" of beautiful homes, parks, and universities, the Bronx became--during the 1960s and 1970s--a national symbol of urban deterioration. Thriving neighborhoods that had long been home to generations of families dissolved under waves of arson, crime, and housing abandonment, turning blocks of apartment buildings into gutted, graffiti-covered shells and empty, trash-filled lots. In this revealing history of the Bronx, Evelyn Gonzalez describes how the once-infamous New York City borough underwent one of the most successful and inspiring community revivals in American history. From its earliest beginnings as a loose cluster of commuter villages to its current status as a densely populated home for New York's growing and increasingly more diverse African American and Hispanic populations, this book shows how the Bronx interacted with and was affected by the rest of New York City as it grew from a small colony on the tip of Manhattan into a sprawling metropolis. This is the story of the clattering of elevated subways and the cacophony of crowded neighborhoods, the heady optimism of industrial progress and the despair of economic recession, and the vibrancy of ethnic cultures and the resilience of local grassroots coalitions crucial to the borough's rejuvenation. In recounting the varied and extreme transformations this remarkable community has undergone, Evelyn Gonzalez argues that it was not racial discrimination, rampant crime, postwar liberalism, or big government that was to blame for the urban crisis that assailed the Bronx during the late 1960s. Rather, the decline was inextricably connected to the same kinds of social initiatives, economic transactions, political decisions, and simple human choices that had once been central to the development and vitality of the borough. Although the history of the Bronx is unquestionably a success story, crime, poverty, and substandard housing still afflict the community today. Yet the process of building and rebuilding carries on, and the revitalization of neighborhoods and a resurgence of economic growth continue to offer hope for the future.

Revealing Art

Author: Matthew Kieran

Publisher: Psychology Press

ISBN: 9780415278546

Category: Art

Page: 280

View: 2550

Many individuals agree that art is important even if they don't know what it is. Most agree that art matters and has value but are unable to provide a reasoned argument in its favour. Kieran considers the problems faced by ordinary folk when confronted by vexing question on art's value and place in society.