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Lives of the Artists: Masterpieces, Messes (and What the Neighbors Thought) Paperback – August 1, 2011
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From School Library Journal
Kenneth Marantz, Art Education Department, Ohio State University, Columbus
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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The book contains 16 Chapters on the following 17 artists in birth year order: Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564), Peter Bruegel (1525?-1569), Sofonisba Anguissola (1532-1625), Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669), Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849), Mary Cassatt (1845-1926), Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890), Kathe Kollwitz (1867-1945), Henri Matisse (1869-1954), Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), Marc Chagall (1887-1985), Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968), Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986), William H. Johnson (1901-1970), Salvador Dali (1904-1989), Isamu Noguchi (1904-1988), Diego Rivera (1886-1957) & Frida Kahlo (1907-1954), Andy Warhol (1928-1987).
It contains a variety of gossipy tidbits about the artists' lives. The cross selection of artists is an interesting combination. Krull introduced me to three artists of which I was not familiar (Anguissola, Kollwitz and Johnson). As a result Krull has whet my appetite and I will now seek out further information. Hewett"s illustrations are entertainly and cleverly done. I am especially particular to her rendition of Hokusai (he is wearing a kimino with both "The Wave" and "Mt. Fuji" on it).
I'm not convinced that the book is intended for young readers (ages 9-12). The gossip is on occasion adult in content. No actual prints of any of the artist's paintings are included, which was a surprise given the high cost of the book. This proves cruelly aggravating given that Krull references select paintings with accompanying notes.
Additional tidbits missing from the book: Dali did the dream sequence in Alfred Hitchcock's "Spellbound" starring Gregory Peck and Ingrid Bergman.Read more ›
I'm sorry, but this book is about the sexual lives of these artists as much as it is about their artistry; also the assumptions made about one artist being "probably homosexual"...please..."probably"? Are you guessing? Hoping?
I enjoyed the book, but buying this for your child might not be what you thought.
Second recommendation: Add photographs to the "Artworks" section. I went to the web to look up the art mentioned, but still....hassle.
To begin with, the book has the direct, simple style of books written for children, grades 4-8. The language is a little too complex for those under age 8, the style a little too simple for those over age 13. Since I occasionally read children's books anyway, this did not stop me as an adult from reading the book and taking satisfaction from doing so. Nor would I have had any problem with recommending the volume for a school or public library, except....
I enjoyed the book primarily because I had already had a rather extensive exposure to art of all types through my mother, who was a working artist herself. Our house was littered with books about artists and their art works, and I started visiting museums in her company from the age of six. When Lives of the Artists: Masterpieces, Messes (and What the Neighbors Thought) discussed Rembrandt, I already possessed a pretty clear impression of his style and of some of his more famous works. The possibility that the he did not paint Man with a Golden Helmet surprised me, because I have a very clear picture of the work-one of my favorite Rembrandts-in my head. Someone who didn't would find it difficult to care; it would be just another bit of free-floating information.
In short, the book fails to fulfill a goal as a vehicle of teaching young people-or any people-about art because there are no illustrations of it.Read more ›
The book is well organized into chapters each focusing on the life of one individual artist. The author skillfully and humorously connects information about artists' personalities, preferences, and lifestyles with how they affected their most well known artworks. It recreates each one's position in history, telling how the artists were seen by the general population in their day, or even their reputation among curious or superstitious neighbors. Readers will be able to see for themselves that famous artists were real people who did mess up once in a while. The author explains a time when Leonardo Da Vinci decided to try out a new painting method, saying, "The technique resulted in disaster...(he hadn't read all the way through to the part that said "don't try this on walls").Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Easy read for young adults but informative and enjoying for all! :)Published 7 months ago by Dynamite
I bought this series for my elementary library for fourth grade students to do research using. I had to move it into our professional collection because although it appears to be... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Mary LaPointe
I thought this would be appropriate for young readers to get interested in the artists. It is clearly meant for an older group of readers than 8 year olds.Published 13 months ago by Jean Eves
We got this, initially, from the library and had to return it before reading it. I read through the foreward, though, and thought the book sounded so good that I bought it off... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Michelle
This series of books is great for elementary school kids. I bought the series for child's teacher.Published 16 months ago by Sbdomingues
This book provides some insight into the quirkier aspects of the lives of some of the most famous artists. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Memphis Mom
I teach Art Appreciation at a high school and love this book! It's an easy, fun read and chalk full of fun, gossipy facts about many famous artists. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Sara R. Lanigan
Very interesting book with lots of tongue and cheek humor. Great for the reluctant preteen or teen reader.Published 19 months ago by dianne oneill