“When art history is written with such knowledge, lightness, and sensitivity, it simply is fiction; and the best.” —Nice Matin
This is an erudite, entertaining, and original look at the story of art.
Art history is a rich subject, with material enough for all kinds of tales, from the often scandalous lives of artists to the sometimes haphazard destiny of their works. Chaigneau’s profound mastery of his subject invites the reader along on a thoroughly enjoyable journey into the lives of thirteen great chefs-d’oeuvres of painting. From the Italian renaissance up to the present day, here are the tragic, bizarre, and humorous stories behind the paintings’ creation and their lives in museums and private collections throughout the world.
How could Vincenzo Perugia have left the Louvre with the Gioconda simply rolled up under his arm, on August 21, 1911? What transpired between Paul Gauguin and Vincent Van Gogh during the two months and two days they shared a house and lived and worked together—just before Van Gogh cut his ear? What is behind the sudden emergence of unknown paintings by Vermeer just before World War II?
With evocative power admirably served by a lively style, Jean-François Chaigneau takes the reader behind the scenes of world masterpieces and reveals a tale sparkling with human passions.