Friday, September 30, 2011

Two Artists

These two novels by Susan Vreeland are fictional glimpses into the lives of two very different painters.  The Impressionist Auguste Renoir, painting in late 19th century France and Artemisia Gentileschi ( 1593 - 1653), one of the few women painters of post-Renaissance Italy to achieve success in her lifetime.

The Passion of Artemisia is the story of a young woman who, in spite of rape, betrayal, and  discrimination, makes her way in the hitherto all-male world of painting.  It's a compelling account and helps to explain the violent subject matter of her most famous painting, 'Judith slaying  Holofernes.'
Artimesia's story has the drama but Vreeland's account of the creation of Renoir's best known painting, 'The Luncheon of the Boating Party,' made me smell the oil paint.
 
 As I followed Renoir through the difficulties of assembling so many people to pose for this picture and the different choices he made in the composition, as well as  the various stages over a period of weeks of completing this piece, I became familiar with each face in the painting, with the clothing, the food on the table, even the shades of color in the white table cloth. 
 
This is a wonderful lesson in how to look at a painting and I recommend it enthusiastically!
 


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17 comments:

Ms. A said...

I find it amazing that you lead such a busy life and still have time to read books!

Barbara Rogers said...

Yes! It's been over a year since I read "Luncheon of the Boating Party," and I can vividly recall some of the scenes that were part of Renoir's life in the book.
I just read an interesting first novel "Sherlochians" (I think the author was Graham Moore, but my memory is pretty bad on names.) Have you read it?

GrandmaK said...

Thank you. I think I will add these to my list...Cathy

June said...

I had never seen Judith slaying Holofernes until this morning. It reminds me of that barbecue fork dream I had...

Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

I have both of these books and enjoyed reading them very much. Susan Vreeland's books are particularly fascinating and seem so real to me. She is a very good writer and I always enjoy her subjects.
Sam

BTY, have you read The Private Lives of the Impressionists? I liked it very much if you enjoy reading about their life and times and how they interacted as friends.

Brian Miller said...

very cool...i think these would be fascinating as i enjoy art and hearing about what goes on in the mind of the artist...

Louise said...

Another book to add to my reading list.

Alan Burnett said...

Strangely enough, I used to have a very large jig-saw puzzle of the Renoir painting which took me ages to complete. But the very act of putting it together, piece by tiny piece, gave me such an understanding of the composition and the content - in a way that must be somewhat similar to reading the book you mention.

Vicki Lane said...

I have to read, Mrs. A. If a day goes by when I don't read some, I get really twitchy.

Shall look for that book, Barbara.

Watch out for June, folks!

Ahh, another for the To Be Read pile, Sam.

Alan - I know just what you mean! I've done on line jigsaw puzzles of familiar art works and have had just the same experience. It's all about taking time for close examination...

Deanna said...

Yea, another book recommendation! Since my husband is an artist, I am looking forward to getting this one for both of us to enjoy.

THANK YOU!

Brenda said...

I got a chuckle out of the very first comment, from Ms. A, because I was reading this post and thinking "Holy crap, how does she have time to read all these books??" LOL! As usual, we are in awe of all you manage to achieve, in apparently the same number of hours the rest of us have in a day! :)

Speaking of book reviews - I am charged with recommending one of the following to my Book Club this month:
The Distant Hours, or
Major Pettigrew's Last Stand

I wonder if you or any of your followers have read either of those books. I'd love some input!

Friko said...

Of course, both paintings are well known, but I didn't know about the books. An author to discover, it seems.

FOLKWAYS NOTEBOOK said...

Ahh -- Renoir -- one of my old time favorites -- barbara

Vicki Lane said...

I haven't read those, Brenda -- seems like I've heard several people recommend Maj. Pettigrew...

And for what it's worth, I read really, really fast.

Tracy Golightly-Garcia said...

Hello Vicki

Seems to be two good books. Will have to check these out for some fall reading.

Take Care!

Best
Tracy :)

Brenda said...

Major Pettigrew it is, I just needed a tie-breaker. Thanks!:) And, I read really, really slow. Therein lies the problem I guess..!

Merisi said...

"The Luncheon of the Boating Party" evokes such fond memories of spending lunch hour at the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC. Such a beautiful (and very large) painting, one of the first ones to see when one visits the former home of Duncan Phillips, now a museum.