Artistic Lives

“The aim of every artist is to arrest motion, which is life, by artificial means and hold it fixed so that a hundred years later, when a stranger looks at it, it moves again since it is life.” ~William Faulkner

I’ve read two books recently which do a wonderful job of depicting the lives of some of the great art masters. It’s been a pleasure to read these fictionalized accounts and catch glimpses of the artistic process and artists’ lives. I’ve enjoyed these books so much that I want to go visit a museum and read more about artists. But, here let me tell you about the books.

First up is a review copy I received, Leonardo’s Shadow by Christopher Grey (click on title for my review). In recent years Leonardo da Vinci has been a hot topic so some of you may be feeling a bit burnt out but this is such a fresh take on the master painter that I urge you to check it out. This delightful YA novel focuses on Leonardo’s servant, Giacomo, a boy trying to find out who he is. I had to email the author after I finished the book because I was curious as to what happens next and he did say he was working on some other projects so I’ll most definitely be looking forward to those. In case you still need to be convinced, check out this book trailer.

The next book is one I chose for the Short Story challenge, Life Studies by Susan Vreeland (click on title for my review). I’ve enjoyed some of Vreeland’s books and this was no exception. In this collection of 17 stories she explores the lives, loves and art of some of the great Impressionist and Post-Impressionist painters. One story in particular was a favorite of mine because it dealt with Edouard Manet’s wife. Having read Mademoiselle Victorine last year, which was the story of his mistress, it was interesting to see things from the perspective of another important woman in his life.

I actually do have some other books featuring artists. The hard part is going to be choosing which one next. Take a look at my choices:

  • The Forgery of Venus by Michael Gruber. This one focuses on Spanish painter Diego Velázquez.
  • The God of Spring by Arabella Edge. This one is about French painter Théodore Géricault.
  • Burning Bright by Tracy Chevalier. This one is about English poet and painter William Blake.

I think I’ll try to immerse myself in some artistic pursuits this weekend. I just have to go back to Paper Arts for more paper for a book project.

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