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 didn';t 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 disapperance 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 Caravaggio';s strange, turbulent career and the astonishing beauty of his work come to life in these pages. Harr';s 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.
J.M.W. Turner was a painter whose treatment of light put him squarely in the pantheon of the world’s preeminent artists, but his character was a tangle of fascinating contradictions. While he could be coarse and rude, manipulative, illmannered, and inarticulate, he was also generous, questioning, and humane, and he displayed through his work a hitherto unrecognized optimism about the course of human progress. With two illegitimate daughters and several mistresses whom Turner made a career of not including in his public life, the painter was also known for his entrepreneurial cunning, demanding and receiving the highest prices for his work.Over the course of sixty years, Turner traveled thousands of miles to seek out the landscapes of England and Europe. He was drawn overwhelmingly to coasts, to the electrifying rub of the land with the sea, and he regularly observed their union from the cliff, the beach, the pier, or from a small boat. Fueled by his prodigious talent, Turner revealed to himself and others the personality of the British and European landscapes and the moods of the surrounding seas. He kept no diary, but his many sketchbooks are intensely autobiographical, giving clues to his techniques, his itineraries, his income and expenditures, and his struggle to master the theories of perspective.In Turner, James Hamilton takes advantage of new material discovered since the 1975 bicentennial celebration of the artist’s birth, paying particulr attention to the diary of sketches with which Turner narrated his life. Hamilton’s textured portrait is fully complemented by a sixteenpage illustrations insert, including many color reproductions of Turner’s most famous landscape paintings. Seamlessly blending vibrant biography with astute art criticism, Hamilton writes with energy, style, and erudition to address the contradictions of this great artist.From the Hardcover edition.
“I had always thought about driving a cab, just thought it’d be interesting and different, a good way to make money. But it always seemed like a fleeting whim, a funny idea, something I would never actually do.”In her late twenties and after a series of unsatisfying office jobs, Melissa Plaut decided she was going to stop worrying about what to do with the rest of her life and focus on what she was going to do next. Her first adventure: becoming a taxi driver. Undeterred by the fact that 99 percent of cabbies in the city were men, she went to taxi school, got her hack license, and hit the streets of Manhattan and the outlying boroughs.Hack traces Plaut’s first two years behind the wheel of a yellow cab traveling the 6,400 miles of New York City streets. She shares the highs, the lows, the shortcuts, and professional trade secrets. Between figuring out where and when to take a bathroom break and trying to avoid runins with the NYPD, Plaut became an honorary member of a diverse brotherhood that included Harvey, the crossdressing cabbie; the dispatcher affectionately called “Paul the crazy Romanian” and Lenny, the garage owner rumored to be the reallife prototype for TV’s Louie De Palma of Taxi.With wicked wit and arresting insight, Melissa Plaut reveals the crazy parade of humanity that passed through her cab–including struggling actors, federal judges, bartenders, strippers, and drug dealers–whileshowing how this grueling work provided her with empowerment and a greater sense of self. Hack introduces an irresistible new voice that is much like New York itself–vivid, profane, lyrical, and ineffably hipFrom the Hardcover edition.
From Peter Bogdanovich - director, screenwriter, actor, and cinema scholar - 25 portraits of Hollywood's most acclaimed movie actors and actresses: stars whom he has known, admired, and occasionally worked with. Bogdanovich captures the personality, the work, the style and the enduring iconic appeal of America's movie greats.
This enthralling confection of a novel, the first in a new trilogy, follows the transformation of a coddled Austrian archduchess into the reckless, powerful, beautiful queen Marie Antoinette.
Why must it be me? I wondered. When I am so clearly inadequate to my destiny?
Raised alongside her numerous brothers and sisters by the formidable empress of Austria, ten-year-old Maria Antonia knew that her idyllic existence would one day be sacrificed to her mothers political ambitions. What she never anticipated was that the day in question would come so soon.
Before she can journey from sunlit picnics with her sisters in Vienna to the glitter, glamour, and gossip of Versailles, Antonia must change everything about herself in order to be accepted as dauphine of France and the wife of the awkward teenage boy who will one day be Louis XVI. Yet nothing can prepare her for the ingenuity and influence it will take to become queen.
Filled with smart history, treacherous rivalries, lavish clothes, and sparkling jewels, Becoming Marie Antoinette will utterly captivate fiction and history lovers alike.
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RandomHouseReadersCircle.com From the Trade Paperback edition.
An illuminating look at the most tumultuous decade in the life of a rock icon--the only McCartney biography in decades based on firsthand interviews with the ex-Beatle himself.
As the 1970s began, the Beatles ended, leaving Paul McCartney to face the new decade with only his wife Linda by his side. Holed up at his farmhouse in Scotland, he sank into a deep depression. To outsiders, McCartney seemed like a man adrift--intimidated by his own fame, paralyzed by the choices that lay before him, cut loose from his musical moorings. But what appeared to be the sad finale of a glorious career was just the start of a remarkable second act.
The product of a long series of one-on-one interviews between McCartney and Scottish rock journalist Tom Doyle, Man on the Run chronicles Paul McCartneys decadelong effort to escape the shadow of his past, outrace his critics, and defy the expectations of his fans. From the bitter and painful breakup of the Beatles to the sobering wake-up call of John Lennons murder, this is a deeply revealing look at a sometimes frightening, often exhilarating period in the life of the worlds most famous rock star.
Sensing that he had nowhere to go but up, Paul McCartney started over from scratch. With emotional--and musical--backing from Linda, he released eccentric solo albums and embarked on a nomadic hippie lifestyle. He formed a new band, Wings, which first took flight on a ramshackle tour of British university towns and eventually returned Paul to the summit of arena rock superstardom.
In Man on the Run, Doyle follows McCartney inside the recording sessions for Wings classic album Band on the Run--and provides context for some of the baffling misfires in his discography. Doyle tracks the dizzying highs and exasperating lows of a life lived in the public spotlight: the richly excessive world tours, the Japanese drug bust that nearly ended McCartneys career, his bitter public feuds with his erstwhile Beatle bandmates, and the aftermath of an infamous drug-and-alcohol-fueled jam session where McCartney helped reconcile the estranged John Lennon and Yoko Ono.
For Paul McCartney, the 1970s were a wild ride with some dark turns. Set against the backdrop of a turbulent decade, Man on the Run casts the sunny Beatle in an entirely new light.
Advance praise for Man on the Run Tom Doyles Man on the Run is a riveting dispatch from the seventies. Paul McCartneys story is told with clever pacing, unflinching honesty, and a gripping narrative drive that benefits from his intimate participation via interviews and support. This is simply one of the best rock biographies anyone has written.--Stephen Davis, bestselling author of Hammer of the Gods and Watch You Bleed Man on the Run is simply brimming with enough fascinating facts and expertly rendered anecdotes to make even the most ardent McCartney follower do an abrupt about-face. Maybe Im amazed? You better believe it.--Kent Hartman, music industry executive and bestselling author of The Wrecking Crew What happens when you can do anything you like but nothing will ever be good enough? Doyle makes sense of a stoned shaggy dog story that has none of the narrative neatness of the Beatles rise and fall.--The Guardian (U.K.), Music Books of the Year [Doyle] offers a level-headed and admirably nonjudgmental portrait of a turbulent ten years, punctuated by great music, creative misfires and frequent run-ins with the law.--Sunday Express (U.K.) From the Hardcover edition.