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The Lost Painting [Kindle Edition]

Jonathan Harr
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Produktbeschreibungen

Amazon.de

In 1992 a young art student uncovered a clue in an obscure Italian archive that led to the discovery of Caravaggio's original The Taking of the Christ, a painting that had been presumed lost for over 200 years. How this clue--a single entry in an old listing of family possessions--led to a residence in Ireland and the subsequent restoration of this Italian Baroque masterpiece is the subject of this brisk and enthralling detective story. The Lost Painting reads more like a historical novel than art history, as Harr smoothly weaves several narratives together to bring the story alive. Though he does not provide an in-depth examination of the painting itself--the book is not aimed specifically at art experts--Harr does include many details for lay readers about restoration, the various methods used to track artwork through history, how originals are distinguished from copies, and an inside view of the art world, past and present. He also discusses various forensic approaches, including X ray, infrared reflectography, chemical analysis of the paints and canvas, and other modern techniques. But most of the book is focused on more primitive methods, including dogged research through dusty archives and meticulous attention to detail.

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

Amazon.com

In 1992 a young art student uncovered a clue in an obscure Italian archive that led to the discovery of Caravaggio's original The Taking of the Christ, a painting that had been presumed lost for over 200 years. How this clue--a single entry in an old listing of family possessions--led to a residence in Ireland and the subsequent restoration of this Italian Baroque masterpiece is the subject of this brisk and enthralling detective story. The Lost Painting reads more like a historical novel than art history, as Harr smoothly weaves several narratives together to bring the story alive. Though he does not provide an in-depth examination of the painting itself--the book is not aimed specifically at art experts--Harr does include many details for lay readers about restoration, the various methods used to track artwork through history, how originals are distinguished from copies, and an inside view of the art world, past and present. He also discusses various forensic approaches, including X ray, infrared reflectography, chemical analysis of the paints and canvas, and other modern techniques. But most of the book is focused on more primitive methods, including dogged research through dusty archives and meticulous attention to detail.

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


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1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Von Donald Mitchell TOP 1000 REZENSENT
Format:Taschenbuch
When I originally picked up this book, I mistakenly assumed that it was the latest page turner thriller about uncovering a lost painting. Only after about forty pages did it dawn on me that this was a nonfiction book written using fictional techniques to make the material more interesting.

Having been an art collector for many years and having spent time with many art scholars, I was impressed that Mr. Harr got it right. Lots of attention buzzes around whatever is hot in the art market, and everyone is looking to make a multimillion dollar discovery. Yet most of the people are working for a pittance in dusty archives or inadequate restoration laboratories. Above it all float those who are the recognized experts. Their proclamations hit everyone else like thunderbolts.

For those who don't know and love the art world, this book will probably be a bit of a disappointment. Although there is a lot of valuable art floating around, the stories behind it are more about tedious, hard work than about the world of the rich and famous.

To me, the book's main value was in its unending tongue in cheek humor in which the pretensions of everyone involved are regularly punctured by Mr. Harr's deft counter examples of all the mistakes they make.

I did grade the book down a bit because he romanticizes the story a lot more than it probably deserves. That makes the book a little longer than it needed to be. Also, I don't know much Italian and all the Italian phrases didn't do anything for me except make the book seem pretentious.

I also think the story is a bit slanted in the telling . . . making the original document research seem more important than it really was to the eventual discovery. The painting probably would have been identified eventually even without that work.
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Amazon.com: 4.1 von 5 Sternen  172 Rezensionen
112 von 117 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen a captivating read 3. November 2005
Von tregatt - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Not having read Jonathan Harr's previous book, ("A Civil Action") I'm unable to comment on which is the better book; what I can say, though, was that I was totally captivated by "The Lost Painting."

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. I was also disappointed that neither the author not his editors thought to include picture plates of some of the paintings discussed in the book. It would have been nice to have had easy access to the Doria Pamphili "St. John," the Capitoline "St. John" and esp "The Taking of Christ" without having to unearth my old art history books, still in boxes. Oh well, at least it inspired me to put up more bookshelves and unpack all those boxes of books! All in all, though, "The Lost Painting" was a completely riveting and enthralling read, and one I would especially recommend to art lovers everywhere.
70 von 75 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Well written and riveting. 13. November 2005
Von L.A. in CA - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
I couldn't put this book down! As usual, the truth reads better than fiction.

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.
57 von 63 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen At First Annoying and Then Enchanting 7. Februar 2007
Von Bucherwurm - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
I really love history, and especially art history. A book about the finding of the long lost Caravaggio painting "The Taking of Christ" got me really excited. Then I started reading it. Evidently authors like Mr. Harr feel that most people won't pick up a book that is not fiction so he writes in a way that gives new meaning to the term "narrative history". At first he seems to want to write a novel. We go riding through the mountains seeing the scenery, experiencing the ocean breeze, pulling over to the side to let faster vehicles pass us by. Our brakes aren't too good, but now the road gets wider....etc. I am getting very impatient with this book about this time. This is novelistic fill that I am reading.

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.
23 von 23 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Art history detective work! 24. November 2006
Von Charles Slovenski - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Like "six degrees of separation" everything is somehow connected. How my brother -- who once asked me to explain THE TAKING OF CHRIST during a visit to the National Gallery in Dublin -- came to be reading this book is one of the mysteries of being a sibling. (His curiosity always surprises me.) In any case, I swiped it away from him during a Xmas visit before I even realized it was the same painting we had seen in Dublin. What could be more fun than to read about the intense and passionate discovery of a lost Caravaggio painting, made by two young Italian art students just starting out?! It is engagingly written and reads like a detective novel, with many fulsome descriptions of all the players such as the difficult Italian woman who holds the old sales books for the original painting, the elderly art historian who guides the young Francesca on her painstaking discovery, the priests in whose home the painting is discovered, the patroness who bequeathed it to them, and above all the restorer who identifies THE TAKING OF CHRIST and is overwhelmed by its power, both as an art discovery and as a gem of prestige. There's enough information about the painter and man Caravaggio and the world in which he worked and played to entice even the least art history oriented reader.
12 von 12 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Serendipity is the Handmaiden to Luck and Hard Work 23. August 2006
Von Grey Wolffe - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Jonathan Harr has done a masterful job of taking us along as two art historians follow different clues that lead to the proof that a rare find (the finding of Caravaggio's "Taking of Christ") is the original. Two art students looking to follow the provenance of one of Caravaggio's other paintings, stumble upon a lead as to what had happened to another of his pieces.

The once wealthy Mattei family, had had four Caravaggio's in their possession up until the early 1800's. Since Caravaggio was not considered a great painter (at that time his works were considered pedestrian and vulgar) the family had sold the works to a Scotsman on a "Great Tour". Francesca Cappelletti and a fellow student are able to review the Mattei family archives and find when the painting was originally bought (1601) and when it was then sold (1801). The buyer had taken it back to Scotland and it was given to an auction house in 1921, but there the trail ended. There was no trace of it's sale or disposition.

At the same time in Dublin, Sergio Benedetti, a italian trained restorer at the National Gallery of Ireland, is asked to clean an old painting that has been hanging in a Jesuit house for "ages". When Benedetti first sees the painting he is astonished that it has the style of Caravaggio in the composition and brush strokes. Could it be a copy that was made around the same time as the original? Once he is able to clean and view it close up he is sure that is the original. He is able to follow it back to the auction house, but cannot discover how it got to the owner who had given it to the Jesuits.

Benedetti contacts a well known Caravaggisti, Sir Denis Mahon who recognizes the picture as not only the original but that this is the picture that Cappelletti had traced to the same auction house. Not only is the painting able to be authenticated, but except for the ten years between 1921 and 1931 (when it was given to the Jesuits), it's history can be followed from 1601 (when it was painted) to the present day.

Following the story from both ends, Harr does a wonderful job of describing how the world of art history academia deals with the finding of such paintings and their authentication. He presents all of the protagonists with their genius and foibles. He is especially sensitive to explaining how serendipity is the hand- maiden to luck and hard work.
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