Lives of the Painters

Life Studies: Stories

By Susan Vreeland

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"...a deeply moving, richly textured collection of stories that explore art through the eyes of ordinary people. Rather than focusing directly on great Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artists like Manet, Monet, Van Gogh, and Modigliani, Vreeland shifts her lens to those on the periphery-—their lovers, servants, children, and neighbors-—showing their personal stories as they play out against the artists' lives. Counterbalancing these historic stories are an equal number of contemporary tales in which her characters-—a teacher, a construction worker, and an orphan-—encounter art in meaningful, sometimes surprising ways."
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Lydia Cassatt Reading the Morning Paper

By Harriet Scott Chessman

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Set in the Parisian art world of the 1880s, this novel imagines a poignant time in the lives of the American impressionist Mary Cassatt and her sister, Lydia. Fatally ill and conscious of impending death, Lydia contemplates her narrowing world.
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The Agony and the Ecstasy

By Irving Stone

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Dramatizes the life of the Renaissance artistic genius Michelangelo, recalls his love affairs, his disputes with cardinals and popes, and his years of working on the Sistine Chapel.

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The Memory Cathedral

By Jack Dann

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In a historical novel blending fact and fiction, Leonardo builds the flying machine he long dreamt of and journeys from the Renaissance West to the mythical East, where he is captured by Persians and sees his invention used for ill.

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The Passion of Artemisia

By Susan Vreeland

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"...chronicles the extraordinary life of Artemisia Gentileschi, the first woman to make a significant contribution to art history. At age eighteen, Artemisia Gentileschi finds herself humiliated in papal court for publicly accusing the man who raped her-Agostino Tassi, her painting teacher. When even her father does not stand up for her, she knows she cannot stay in Rome and begs to have a marriage arranged for her. Her new husband, an artist named Pietro Stiatessi, takes her to his native Florence, where her talent for painting blossoms and she becomes the first woman to be elected to the Accademia dell'Arte. But marriage clashes with Artemisia's newfound fame as a painter, and she begins a lifelong search to reconcile painting and motherhood, passion and genius."
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Waking Raphael

By Leslie Forbes

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La Muta, the mute woman.
"Amidst a country rocked by scandal and corruption, inhabitants of the idyllic city of Urbino, Italy, birthplace of Raphael, are more concerned with a sudden outbreak of miracles than with politics. But what unspeakable secret lies hidden in Raphael's enigmatic painting? Its restoration will drive a living mute to a shocking act of violence and spark an investigation into a nearly forgotten war crime and a series of events that will shatter the silence gripping this community forever. Both a mesmerizing thriller and a passionate exploration of the power of truth to effect reconciliation and restore faith, Waking Raphael spins a tantalizing web of silence and lies to recreate an Italy where the romantic and the violent, the comic and the tragic, are spell-bindingly interwoven."

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