Tuesday 29 November 2016

The Vanishing Valazquez - A Review


John Snare purchases a portrait of Prince Charles with the suspicion that the artist is Diego Valazquez.  As the subtitle of this book suggests that painting became his lifelong obsession and ultimately his ruin. 

This book has three main themes; John Snare’s obsession with the painting and the impact it has on his life, art history featuring the times and works of Valazquez and the history between England and Spain.  All of them interesting in their own right and the research Ms. Cumming did is obviously extensive.  She goes into great detail for all three of the themes.  I found each interesting and enjoyed Ms. Cumming’s writing. 

The flow of this book is where I had some issues.  It jumped around a little too much.  I understand wanting to intersperse the history of the painting with Snare’s story but often the information didn’t quite mesh coherently.

That aside it was an interesting read and anyone interested in Diego Valazquez and his works will enjoy this book.  I would highly recommend purchasing a physical copy of the book because it does include photographic reproductions of the paintings that an eReader does not do justice.  (I ending up reading the book and googling the paintings)

I received this book at no charge from the publisher, Scribner 
via Netgalley in the hopes of an honest review.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR (her Simon and Schuster author page)

Laura Cumming has been the art critic of the Observer since 1999. Previously, she was arts editor of the New Statesman magazine, literary editor of the Listener, and deputy editor of Literary Review. She is a former columnist for the Herald and has contributed to the London Evening Standard, the Guardian, L’Express and Vogue. Her book A Face to the World: On Self-Portraits was widely reviewed to critical acclaim.


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