Did you ever see the History channel show called “History's Mysteries”? Well that would be a show that this weeks suggested read could be featured on. It’s the book called The Lost Painting: The Quest for a Caravaggio Masterpiece by Jonathan Harr.
In this book the author takes what would normally be a snippet on the back end of the nightly news (the discovery of Caravaggio’s masterpiece “The Taking of Christ” that had been lost for decades) and tells it in a descriptive way that just holds your attention.
These types of discoveries probably happen more often than most of us hear about in the mainstream media. This one is of particular interest to me because it involves one of my favorite painters of the baroque age, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio.
Caravaggio was a mysterious and complex character in the history of painting, and possessed many conflicting attributes to say the least. For instance he was a murderer, yet one of the greatest painters Christendom had ever seen. After being almost ignored for a few centuries, his work and his life have become very popular subjects of renewed study in the fine art scene. That’s not going to tail off anytime soon either. I’ve read where his fame has surpassed that of Michelangelo (he of the Sistine).
One of the great things about this book is that it’s not only engagingly written, but it is all true, right down to each characters name. And you really feel the joys, frustrations, and excitement of every character as the mystery unfolds. This book is a good example of why I don’t read fiction, because truth is so much better.
Reading about the people who researched the painting and made the discovery will really give you an appreciation of what hard work it must be to track the provenance of a painting from Caravaggio’s time. It will also surprise you just how many undiscovered Caravaggio’s there are out there. Finally,the book also gives a great description of the restoration process of old paintings. as well as other books to read on the life and times of one of your favorite painters and mine, Caravaggio.
Read this book!
Thoughts or suggestions - Joe@JoeWinklerArt.com