The Lost Painting

The Lost Painting

eBook - 2005
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A decaying palazzo on a hilltop near the Adriatic coast, and in the basement, cobwebbed and dusty, an archive unknown to scholars. Here, a young graduate student from Rome makes a discovery that inspires a search for a painting lost for almost two centuries. The artist was Caravaggio, a revolutionary painter beset by personal demons. Four hundred years ago, he drank and brawled in the taverns and streets of Rome, in and out of jail, all the while painting transcendent works. He rose from obscurity to fame and wealth, but success didn't alter his violent temperament. 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. This quest is a synthesis of history and detective story.--From publisher description.
Publisher: New York : Random House, c2005
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9781588364890
1588364895
Characteristics: 1 online resource (271 p.)

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scp2695
Jul 13, 2017

Just what the reading doctor ordered. NF about the search for a 'lost' painting done by Caravaggio, one of the most enigmatic Italian artists. Two art history grad students get to rummage through obscure public and private archives researching two copies of the same painting when a third one pops up in Ireland. Great stuff, and it is all true.

WVMLStaffPicks Jan 22, 2015

The mystery of a lost painting, one completed by Caravaggio four centuries ago, follows a fascinating detective trail through time and place. Johnathan Harr managed to entice me into his true tale of the search for this masterpiece, The Taking of Christ. It reveals how dedicated art historians can be when they are on the track of something big, and this was big.

Compelling, true story full of mystery about a lost Caravaggio painting and the characters involved are so different and intriguing. My book group loved it and it made for a great discussion.

d
Drayjayeff
Feb 03, 2012

I found this book atmospheric and gripping. Of course, having studied art history for half a century and taught it for over three decades, it's right up my alley. Devoured The Lost Painting in one sitting. For me, it had the characteristics of a first-rate detective novel with the added frisson of knowing the players actually exist and the event really took place. Caravaggio, himself, is a compelling and enigmatic figure, and the provenance of the lost painting, obscure. And I loved characters like the chain-smoking, dithery marchesa re-organizing the family archive (and effectively destroying it in the process); the meticulous Italophilic art historian, Denis Mahon (ninety-five when the volume was published), who lives in Rome but can't stand to be embraced (must be a constant battle) and flies around the world to speak at conferences; and the disgruntled, secretive restorer who recovers the masterpiece and undergoes a personality change.

htsmusicmaven Apr 22, 2011

Great true story that reads like a novel. Full of mystery and intrigue.

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