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1 Beaverton Art- History and Criticism

The Lost Painting

by

The Lost Painting Cover

ISBN13: 9780375759864
ISBN10: 0375759867
Condition: Standard
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Reading Group Guide

1. Caravaggio is widely regarded by art historians as a revolutionary

painter. Discuss how his work differed from his contemporaries,

and how his work was received by the Church.

2. Caravaggios reputation went into eclipse for almost three

hundred years, and yet today, along with Michelangelo, Raphael,

and Leonardo, he has become one of the best known of the Italian

Old Masters. What is it about his work that speaks to modern

tastes?

3. Discuss how and why tastes in art can change so dramatically

from one era to the next.

4. One of the recurring problems among Caravaggio scholars is

identifying Caravaggios original works from among many

copies. Do you believe that a high-quality copy can create the

same aesthetic and emotional experience as the original for a

viewer? If so, what is it about the original that makes it so important?

5. At the suggestion of their professor, Francesca and Laura published

what they had discovered in the Recanati archive without

informing their boss, Giampaolo Correale. How does this affect

your view of the two young women? Was Correale justified in

his anger?

6. This is a work of nonfiction in which the author depicts the

lives and actions of real people without changing their names or

concealing their identities. Discuss how you feel about their

treatment. Did you feel the author was objective and fair in his

depictions?

7. The world of art scholars, as described in this book, was riven

with jealousies and feuds. Discuss why this was so, and whether

you think other disciplines are afflicted with the same sort of atmosphere.

8. The opinion of Sir Denis Mahon was highly esteemed in the

art world. Why do you think this was so? Is it reasonable to place

such weight on the judgments of one man?

9. Francesca refers several times to the “Caravaggio disease,” and

fears at one point that she might get infected by it. What does

she mean by it?

10. Benedetti left Rome and went to work in Ireland. What was

it about Italy that made it so difficult for him to work there?

11. Even though Benedetti managed to repair the damage that

hed caused during the restoration of the painting, he denied

that anything had gone amiss. Do you think he was justified in

doing so?

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

bhart, March 19, 2010 (view all comments by bhart)
Wonderful! A direct transport to the Italian middle ages via two young researchers who fall into a current "what happened to it" mystery. Surprising information on the art of resoration with an overview of the paint, construction, and origins of Caravaggio masterpieces.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780375759864
Author:
Harr, Jonathan
Publisher:
Random House Trade
Subject:
European
Subject:
History - Medieval
Subject:
Subjects & Themes - Religious
Subject:
History - Baroque & Rococo
Subject:
Art - General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20061131
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
320
Dimensions:
7.18x5.54x.73 in. .52 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Art » Art History Surveys
Arts and Entertainment » Art » Artists
Arts and Entertainment » Art » Europe General
Arts and Entertainment » Art » General
Arts and Entertainment » Art » History and Criticism
Arts and Entertainment » Art » Religious

The Lost Painting Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$2.95 In Stock
Product details 320 pages Random House Trade - English 9780375759864 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

The mysterious fate of a lost masterpiece, an art restorer's obsession, and Caravaggio's troubled life are the focus of this riveting work of history.

"Staff Pick" by ,

The mysterious fate of a lost masterpiece, an art restorer's obsession, and Caravaggio's troubled life are the focus of this riveting work of history.

"Review" by , "...Jonathan Harr has gone to the trouble of writing what will probably be a bestseller...rich and wonderful...in truth, the book reads better than a thriller..."
"Review" by , "[A] deeply moving narrative about history, art and taste....It is as perfect a work of narrative nonfiction as you could ever hope to read."
"Review" by , "Harr excels...at anatomizing the minds of his sleuths, and gets good mileage out of the various eccentrics encountered along the way."
"Review" by , "Harr infuses this information with life and suspense, and his sure-to-be-popular account will lead general readers to a new appreciation of a long-lost masterpiece as well as of the potential excitement of art history scholarship and art restoration."
"Review" by , "As Harr expertly tracks the converging quests of the students and the restorer, he incisively recounts Caravaggio's wild and tragic life, and offers evocative testimony to the resonance of his daring and magnificent work."
"Review" by , "[T]he book reads better than a thriller because, unlike a lot of best-selling non-fiction authors who write in a more or less novelistic vein...Harr doesn't plump up his tale. He almost never foreshadows, doesn't implausibly reconstruct entire conversations and rarely throws in litanies of clearly conjectured or imagined details just for color's sake."
"Review" by , "At its best, Harr's magnetic storytelling recalls Cappelletti's first encounter with the work of Caravaggio. To her, his paintings seemed 'to pulse with heat and life, capturing a moment in time like a scene glimpsed through a window.'"
"Review" by , "Harr does a dexterous job of building narrative tension, conveying both the intellectual thrills experienced by Ms. Cappelletti and Mr. Benedetti as they make their discoveries and the scrupulous research that goes into verifying their finds."
"Synopsis" by , Prizewinning author Harr embarks on a spellbinding journey to discover the long-lost painting known as The Taking of Christ. The fascinating details of the artist Caravaggio's strange, turbulent career and the astonishing beauty of his work come to life in these pages.
"Synopsis" by , An Italian village on a hilltop near the Adriatic coast, a decaying palazzo facing the sea, and in the basement, cobwebbed and dusty, lit by a single bulb, an archive unknown to scholars. Here, a young graduate student from Rome, Francesca Cappelletti, makes a discovery that inspires a search for a work of art of incalculable value, a painting lost for almost two centuries.

The artist was Caravaggio, a master of the Italian Baroque. He was a genius, a revolutionary painter, and a man beset by personal demons. Four hundred years ago, he drank and brawled in the taverns and streets of Rome, moving from one rooming house to another, constantly in and out of jail, all the while painting works of transcendent emotional and visual power. He rose from obscurity to fame and wealth, but success didnt alter his violent temperament. His rage finally led him to commit murder, forcing him to flee Rome a hunted man. He died young, alone, and under strange circumstances.

Caravaggio scholars estimate that between sixty and eighty of his works are in existence today. Many others–no one knows the precise number–have been lost to time. Somewhere, surely, a masterpiece lies forgotten in a storeroom, or in a small parish church, or hanging above a fireplace, mistaken for a mere copy.

Prizewinning author Jonathan Harr embarks on an spellbinding journey to discover the long-lost painting known as The Taking of Christ–its mysterious fate and the circumstances of its disappearance have captivated Caravaggio devotees for years. After Francesca Cappelletti stumbles across a clue in that dusty archive, she tracks the painting across a continent and hundreds of years of history. But it is not until she meets Sergio Benedetti, an art restorer working in Ireland, that she finally manages to assemble all the pieces of the puzzle.

Told with consummate skill by the writer of the bestselling, award-winning A Civil Action, The Lost Painting is a remarkable synthesis of history and detective story. The fascinating details of Caravaggios strange, turbulent career and the astonishing beauty of his work come to life in these pages. Harrs account is not unlike a Caravaggio painting: vivid, deftly wrought, and enthralling.

". . . Jonathan Harr has gone to the trouble of writing what will probably be a bestseller . . . rich and wonderful. . .in truth, the book reads better than a thriller because, unlike a lot of best-selling nonfiction authors who write in a more or less novelistic vein (Harr's previous book, A Civil Action, was made into a John Travolta movie), Harr doesn't plump up hi tale. He almost never foreshadows, doesn't implausibly reconstruct entire conversations and rarely throws in litanies of clearly conjectured or imagined details just for color's sake. . .if you're a sucker for Rome, and for dusk. . .[you'll] enjoy Harr's more clearly reported details about life in the city, as when--one of my favorite moments in the whole book--Francesca and another young colleague try to calm their nerves before a crucial meeting with a forbidding professor by eating gelato. And who wouldn't in Italy? The pleasures of travelogue here are incidental but not inconsiderable." --The New York Times Book Review

"Jonathan Harr has taken the story of the lost painting, and woven from it a deeply moving narrative about history, art and taste--and about the greed, envy, covetousness and professional jealousy of people who fall prey to obsession. It is as perfect a work of narrative nonfiction as you could ever hope to read." --The Economist

From the Hardcover edition.

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