The Vanishing Velasquez: A 19th Century Bookseller’s Obsession with a Lost Masterpiece, by Laura Cumming

June 2, 2016 at 11:12 am (Art, Book review, books)

the-vanishing-velazquez-9781476762159_hr

The scene is a darkened tavern filled with objects, each gleaming in its own spotlight. A red onion, an egg, a white bowl balancing a silver knife, a brass vessel full of reflected glory: all appear as if laid out on an altar, singular, mysterious and sacramental. Velasquez pays the greatest respect to each humble item, and each is painted with mesmerizing beauty. Even the strung melon cradled by the young boy on the left shines like some strange new gift to the world.

VELÁZQUEZ_-_Vieja_friendo_huevos_(National_Galleries_of_Scotland,_1618._Óleo_sobre_lienzo,_100.5_x_119.5_cm)

Old Woman Frying Eggs, 1618   [click to enlarge]

In this book, the author tells a fascinating if convoluted story. I admit that I lost the thread several times. But it didn’t matter. Laura Cumming’s exquisite writing and keen powers of observation take you to a whole other place, a magical realm saturated with the genius that was Diego Velasquez.

More to come on this, at a later time.

1 Comment

  1. brontespageturners said,

    I love these sort of ‘art-history/mystery’ books. The Girl in the Green Dress – re the (misnamed) Arnolfini portrait by Van Eyck is another great example of that. Will investigate this one! Bronte

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