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The Lost Painting Paperback – November 7, 2006
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This entertaining book boasts an engaging cast of characters, all of whom are inflicted with the "Caravaggio disease," including some of the foremost Caravaggio scholars in the world, persistent students, obsessive restorers, and most of all, the artist himself. Mercurial, supremely gifted, and prone to violence, Caravaggio lived like an outlaw and a pauper most of his troubled life. Yet even when he attained wealth and fame--and briefly, respectability--he was still hounded by the law (for murder) and numerous vengeful enemies. Harr does an admirable job of bringing the man alive in these pages while keeping his long-lost painting at the center of the action. --Shawn Carkonen --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Many scholars acknowledge that there probably are several missing Caravaggio masterpieces lying about forgotten and neglected. "The Lost Painting" is about the search for and discover of one such painting, "The Taking Of Christ." In 1989, while working on a project, graduate students, Francesca Cappelletti and Laura Testa, come across mention of the sale of "The Taking of Christ" in the early part of the nineteenth century by the then owner, Guisseppe Mattei to a Scotsman. The information fires up in Francesca a desire to discover what happened to the painting from this point on. She is only partially successful. In the meantime, art restorer, Sergio Benedetti, makes an astonishing discovery when a routine job nets an inexpected find...
Jonathan Harr did, I thought, a wonderful job of vividly conveying the excitement and drive of those involved in the search for (Francesca Cappelletti) and discovery of Caravaggio's lost painting (Sergio Benedetti). And if the author sometimes sounded a little detached and removed from what he was relating in the book, he more than made up for it with his clear and precise descriptions of scenes and characters -- I thought that his portrayal of the slightly gaga Marchesa was priceless; and really enjoyed his brief but telling descriptions of all the characters, both primary and secondary. My sole reservation lay in what I thought was the unnecessary inclusion of Francesca's private romantic life into the book. It struck a slightly jarring note, I thought. Fortunately, this was far and few between.Read more ›
Over the years, many people representing many different interests searched for the whereabouts of a missing masterpiece by the great Caravaggio. All met with dead ends. In this fast paced book, the author introduces us to those in the art world who were involved in the search, and he allows us to see how each contributes to the final outcome. We are there as each new clue is discovered.
Caravaggio was evidently a pretty wild character who was no stranger to the police. How such a man was able to create paintings of such light and beauty is incredible. Learning more about the artist is one of the highlights of the book.
I don't want to spoil the story by giving away any details. Reading first-hand how things slowly evolve is part of the fun. I do highly recommend it, though, to anyone interested in Italian art, in art history, or to anyone looking for a good, intelligent mystery. A fascinating story.
But then half way through the book a new day dawns. We no longer have to sit through a dinner where an art historian has ordered "an antipasto of mixed seafood marinated in olive oil and lemon juice followed by medallion of veal with lemon and capers and a plate of spinach repassato, cooked with garlic and oil" (actual quote). We now enter a rather fascinating world of art restoration spiced with biographical details of Caravaggio's life. Is the found painting really Caravaggio's? How do we determine if it is? The book now hits its stride and all the early fluff is forgiven. On balance it is a commendable book of art detection and restoration that is devoid of academic stodginess. Lots of fun once you get past the ocean breezes.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Novelistic account of how a lost Caravaggio was found again. I enjoyed it perhaps more than most readers because I knew several of the protagonists of the story.Published 8 days ago by N. Hamerman
Not a particularly interesting story and told in a plaintive, unexciting style, rather like a high school book report. No build up of excitement to a climax.Published 20 days ago by Joyski
A simplistic story, written amatourously in an effort to reflect a feature film, emotionally dishonest, concluding with complete disappointment in Helen Mirren and Alan Rickman's... Read morePublished 21 days ago by Don Baer
The fact that it is a true story makes it fascinating.
Brought bak memories of travel to Italy.
This wasn't what I expected, but the more I read the more interested I became in the journey this painting took. Turned out to be an enjoyable and interesting read.Published 25 days ago by readsalot
Learned a lot about Carravaggio and really enjoyed the research aspects of this book.Published 26 days ago by Amazon Customer
Great story, gives a good history of the Artist and a fascinating accounting of the lost paintings of CaravaggioPublished 1 month ago by john friel
I enjoyed this book a lot. A good story and real facts to understand how famous paintings get to a museum. Read morePublished 1 month ago by david maniowicz