The writing style is almost mystical; the descriptions of the art reverential. Thanks Scribner and netgalley for this arc. He survived that near parting with his precious; and yes, there is a bit of Gollum in Snare. That second element is more challenging than it sounds. Likewise, John Snare, the Reading bookseller, who becomes obsessed with the portrait of the young Charles 1 that he believes to be by Velasquez is also a shadowy figure. The tragic tale of John Snare and his obsession with his Velázquez portrait of Charles I has found a keen and empathetic writer in Laura Cumming who intuitively understands Snare's mania and Velázquez's artistry.
But most movingly, The Vanishing Man is an eloquent and passionate homage to the Spanish master Velazquez, bringing us closer to the creation and appreciation of his works than ever before. Shortlisted for the James Tait Black Biography Prize and the Rathbones Folio Prize. When Laura Cumming stumbled on a startling trial involving John Snare, it sent her on a search of her own. The Prado housed his greatest masterpiece, Las Meninas, which must undoubtedly be the most complex if not the greatest painting of a royal household ever painted, but the museum had opened its doors only in 1819. The painting has obsessed Cumming over the subsequent 25 years. It seems to have disappeared into the mists of time and may have been destroyed physically or lost in the back rooms of a museum or in the attic of a country house.
An innovative fusion of detection and biography, this audiobook shows how and why great works of art can affect us, even to the point of mania. Shortlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize 2016. It's a nice book but I felt the writing about Velázquez was of newspaper Art critic standard, rather than Art historian, which is to say I felt the love, but have my doubts about the expertise, with all due respect to Mme Cumming. He never returned to England and only once was reunited with a son, who was born after he and the painting absconded to the United States. It also offers an inspired and inspiring evaluation of the art of Velázquez.
. Realising it was a Velazquez portrait he bought it. He runs away with a painting. Loved, loved, loved this audio book. As Cumming nicely illustrates, it was a bit of art showmanship that was hardly unusual for the time, with travelling one-work shows vying with novelty acts, freak shows and other dazzlements to cheer the crowds. An innovative fusion of detection and biography, this book shows how and why great works of art can affect us, even to the point of mania. However difficult to pick apart, and no matter how idiosyncratically personal, the application of paint is a matter of practical process, evolved through trial and error, rather than mystical inspiration.
She goes into great detail for all three of the themes. Could this painting be a Velazquez? He never returned to England and only once was reunited with a son, who was born after he and the painting absconded to the United States. He and Albrecht Durer have long been my favorite painters, both because of their art, but also for the history they portrayed. Cumming's writing makes me yearn to return, to see these paintings again with the additional insights she has given me. Paul Brandford, alerted me to a talk a friend of his was giving at the National Gallery. On the one hand, we are shown the dogged Snare's obsession with his putative Velázquez, which leads him, through various twists and turns, to an impoverished end in a New York garret.
The sheer amount of research, particularly into characters as elusive as Velázquez and Snare as much a mystery as the painting turned out to be! Although held in high regard, Velasquez was not free to travel, gaining permission for only two admittedly lengthy visits to Italy, but retained his artistic independence in the convention-ridden Spanish court. Could this painting be a Velazquez? Even for those who want to learn more about Velazquez and his unique way of painting, this book will not disappoint. These people, all long dead but very much alive, are looking at me as if I just interrupted their activities by walking in the room. The book also discusses Velazquez An obsession with a work of art led to the ruin of a British man, John Snare. This book is also a biography as much as it can be of Velázquez, and he could not have wished to have a more nuanced studier of his art and life. You put down The Vanishing Man not quite sure how Cumming has been able to bring off this particular magic trick, but happy and grateful that she has. Snare was convinced his acquisition was an early Velázquez; the portrait is now lost, so the truth will never be known.
Laura Cumming's book is part mystery, part character-study, and part a history of the art and of the times the art was painted. The book also examines the obsession of many who collect, admire, and try to understand great art. But Cumming's book is marvelous reading for anyone interested in history, art, and how art keeps its place in history. Cumming is at her best when tightly focused on her respective narratives, detailing Snare's fall through bankruptcy and his trial for theft followed by a beautifully unexpected plot twist while filling in arcane details of Velázquez's life at court, such as his appearance in drag at a court masque. And on the trail of John Snare, Cumming makes a surprising discovery of her own. Before he or the King added the insignia of a Knight of Santiago to the self-portrait in Las Meninas, he chose to emphasise the keys of office at his belt.
Also, during this time, art was not on display as it is today; museums did not exist, and one could only see it if its owners put it on public display for a limited period of time. Cumming presents us with many meditations on his art, what it means to be seen by him, what it means to look at his work and our role in it, the interplay of both; he was an artist with an honest eye and he painted people as they were, not as what they would be. A fusion of detection and biography, this book pays homage to the Spanish master Velazquez. He is later sued by an estate believing that the painting was stolen from a private collection. When Laura Cumming stumbled on a startling trial involving John Snare, it sent her on a search of her own. The narrator - Siobhan Redmond -was superb. In this true story, author Laura Cumming tells about Snare's infatuation and eventual financial ruin.
But John Snare thought the painting was a Velazquez, bought it, and led the rest of his life in homage to the painting. An innovative fusion of detection and biography, this book shows how and why great works of art can affect us, even to the point of mania. If you like Donna Tartts Goldfinch, or the Girl in Hyacinth Blue by Sue Vreeland, you might like this. She went on to expand the devistating story, both of the painting and the bookseller himself as the tale unfolded. Shortlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize 2016. All of them interesting in their own right and the research Ms.
There she discovered Velázquez's monumental masterpiece Las Meninas The Maids of Honour , in which a young princess and other members of the 17th-century Spanish court, including the artist himself, look hauntingly back at us. For anyone who does decide to read this book or any other book with art illustrations, go with a physical book. This reminded me of the 2013 Vermeer and Music exhibition at the National Gallery in London. When Laura Cumming stumbled on a startling trial involving John Snare, it sent her on a search of her own. She also tries to get to the root of who Velázquez was as a man, but he is as enigmatic as Vermeer.