Lives of the Painters

Journey through art history with this collection of fiction based on the lives of Old Masters or their works. Experience the Italian Renaissance through the eyes of female artist Artemisia Gentileschi. See how Russian politics unfold in Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo's Mexican home. Travel through time with a Vermeer painting. Visit gay Paris with Van Gogh's sister-in-law. Find out what's nagging da Vinci on his death bed...

In the Casa Azul

By Meaghan Delahunt

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The exile of Leon Trotsky and his young wife to the Casa Azul, the Mexican home of muralist Diego Rivera and artist Frida Kahlo is the backdrop for this tale of the political antagonism between Stalin and Trotsky.

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Headlong

By Michael Frayn

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An unlikely con man wagers wife, wealth, and sanity in pursuit of an elusive Old Master.

Invited to dinner by the boorish local landowner, Martin Clay, an easily distracted philosopher, and his art-historian wife are asked to assess three dusty paintings blocking the draught from the chimney. But hiding beneath the soot is nothing less--Martin believes--than a lost work by Bruegel. So begins a hilarious trail of lies and concealments, desperate schemes and soaring hopes as Martin, betting all that he owns and much that he doesn't, embarks on a quest to prove his hunch, win his wife over, and separate the painting from its owner.

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Girl with a Pearl Earring

By Tracy Chevalier

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"[This novel] narrates the creation of Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer's painting, Girl with a Pearl Earring. The "Girl" in Chevalier's version is 16-year-old Griet, who goes to live with the Vermeer household as a maid and becomes increasingly intimate with Vermeer as she takes on duties as a private assistant."

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Girl in Hyacinth Blue

By Susan Vreeland

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Eight linked stories tracing the history of a painting by the 17th-century Dutch artist, Vermeer. In one, he paints his daughter to pay off debts, a second story describes the loss of the ownership papers, a third takes place on the eve of its theft by the Nazis.

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Canaletto and the Case of the Westminster Bridge

By Janet Laurence

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When famed Italian artist Canaletto ventures to England on a business jaunt, he encounters more difficulties than just the language barrier. Upon arriving, Canaletto is attacked and robbed twice in the same day by a relentless pickpocket. When he is left for dead in a dark alley, the young woman who helped Canaletto earlier rescues the artist again. The visitor to England meets Jane Austen at dinner, helps uncover a spy, and finds that he has a talent for detective work.

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Artemisia

By Alexandra Lapierre

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"Born to the artist Orazio Gentileschi at the beginning of the 1600s, when artists were the celebrities of their day, Artemisia was apprenticed to her father at an early age. She showed such remarkable talent that he came to view her as the most precious thing he owned. But at the age of seventeen Artemisia was raped by her father's best friend and partner, Agostini Tassi. Soon the Gentileschi name was being dragged through scandal, for Artemisia refused, even when tortured, to deny that she had been raped. Indeed, she went farther: she dared to plead her case in court. For eight months all of Rome was riveted by the trial. Artemisia won the case, but in return she was ostracized from Rome and from her father.

"This is a story of the love-hate relationship between master and pupil, father and daughter, at a time when daughters belonged to their fathers and had no legal rights. Artemisia's talent was such that she overturned the prejudices of her time, winning the admiration of wealthy patrons, kings, and queens. Lapierre brings Artemisia Gentileschi to vivid life as she tells of the emotional struggle of this remarkable, fascinating woman."

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